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[All rights reserved] 

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♦ ■'.-. • 

Printed by Ballanttnk, Haksov 6« Co. 
At thfl Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh 



These pages do not aspire to teach anything 
to the smoke expert. They are not an original 
research in chemistry or in engineering. It 
will be suflScient if they are found to be cor- 
rect, so far as they go, in their chemical and 
engineering facts. They are rather addressed 
to the ordinary manufacturer and to the 
citizen, for it is in their hands that the cure 
now lies. The engineers have provided for 
every case smokeless, or nearly smokeless, 
devices of which these pages contain in- 

It is now for the public to amend and, 
above all, to enforce the law. 

This is an appropriate time for an attack 
upon smoke. Many minds are turning 
gravely to face the waste of our national 
capital in coal, and anything which promises 
economy of power is eagerly sought. It is 
well that cleanliness, health, economy, and 


efficiency all pull the same way. The Report 
of the Royal Commission on Coal Supplies, 
issued in 1905, will, I hope, mark a new point 
of departure. 

The book was ready for the printer before 
the claims of Coalite were brought before the 
public. It receives such mention as is at 
present safe, and we can only earnestly hope 
that it may work the revolution anticipated. 

These pages will be found to contain 
frequent references to Ruskin's works. But 
this is appropriate, seeing that they have 
been written at the request, and imder the 
auspices, of the Guild of S. George, founded 
by Ruskin, as readers of Fora know, in 1871. 



I. Smoke 

II. Fog and '* Storm Cloud" 
III. Combustion 
rv. Thb Dombstio Gbatb 
V. Hand Fibino . 
YI. Mbchanical Stokebs 
VII. Gas and Elbctbicity 


IX. Thb Law 
X. National Coal Supply 
XI. Final . 
















Oh, to be in England 

Now that April's there, 

And whoever wakes in England 

Sees, some morning, unaware. 

That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf 

Bound the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, 

While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough 

In England — now 1 

RoBBRT Browning, 1842. 

We have, in the towns, little spring-time and 
no autumn, and nothing that can be called 
weatiier in the old-fashioned sense, in England 
— now! 

Thb Man in the Street, 1907. 








Befobe the days of modern cities smoke 

I could be sent up into the clean air without 

i harm. The sky was relatively so vast that 

I the atmosphere was not seriously dirtied 

] before the carbon and the sulphur acids 

' descended along with the rain harmlessly 

again to the earth. But the air can no longer 

be kept clean without regulation. There 

have been added to the domestic fires of our 

crowded towns pillars of black cloud which 

the manufacturers pour into the air as if the 

air were their own. Similarly there were 

ages when men were few, and the happy 

hunting grounds of earth and water were 

free to all : these have long passed into the 

stage of private property or special right in 



a way in which the indivisible and unfence- 
able air can never pass. 

But land and water have reached a third 
stage, in which the community, by legisla- 
tion, by taxation and by manifold bye-laws 
of local bodies, has in the public interest 
asserted its paramount and original rights. 
Everything points to a tendency to strengthen 
the hold of the State upon the land. This 
third stage has to be reached for the atmos- 
phere without passmg through the second u 
the time has long ago come when the com-l 
munity can no further neglect to guard or to! 
resume its indefeasible inheritance of pur( 
air, as a necessity not perhaps of mere life, 
but of health and ordinary happiness. W< 
live more close to the air than we do to th< 
land or the water ; we bathe in it all the time 
it not only affects our clothes and our skins] 
but we breathe it with all its impurities int< 
those delicate passages of the lungs whic] 
were made for the abode of its pureness only] 
To foul the air is to condemn us all in th< 
most intimate fashion to dirt and darknessL 
and to a sad universal ugliness. r 

Sunlight among the foliage of green tree^ 
or dappling the pure stream — sunshine ohj 
grass or on distant hills — clear gleams aftei 
rain — ^golden settings and risings — these ar( 


the lovely things of the earth. On sunshine 
depends the beauty of all glorious animals 
and plants, of the peacock butterfly and the 
daisy of the field. We too are creatures of 
sunshine by nature and inheritance; to be 
deprived of light is to us a species of starva- 
tion and imprisonment. The town dweller of 
to-day has in fact ceased to expect to live 
in sunshine; but he is descended from 
ploughmen and milkmaids, who for countless 
generations before the factory system arose, 
lived open to the sun. Our organisms, which 
have been developed through these genera- 
tions to meet this environment, still] need it, 
and must plainly suffer for want of sunshine. 
We know too well the pale children of our | 
streets, the weakly deUcate young women! 
of our towns. Why do they differ from\ 
country children with their robust limbs and t 
tanned faces? Why are they denied the 
happy health of the company one meets at a 
village flower show? Food and wages and 
sanitation are probably better in the towns. 
The atmosphere is largely responsible for the 
difference, aggravating all overcrowdmg ; and 
the atmosphere is made what it is by smoke. ) 

On a single page of the Manchester Ouar" 
diem this morning a particularly careful 
observer states that really clear summer 


days in Cheshire are fewer of recent years, 
due to the extension of manufactories and an 
increased output of smoke ; and a Philistine 
correspondent objects to the building of a 
new Art Gallery because you cannot observe 
objects of art on more than 15 per cent, of 
the days in a year. (This conclusion is, of 
course, nonsense, for is there not electric 

We are told by Charles Booth that Lon- 
doners do not survive as Londoners beyond 
the third generation, but some of our 
great cities are smokier and less healthy 
than London through burning a smokier 

\ coal. The race is being made weak, blood- 

I less, and depressed ; for about four-fifths of 
our people live in towns under a smoke 
cloud. Sir Thomas Barlow says concerning 
health: "Recent investigations have shown 
that the value of direct sunlight is absolutely 


' Dr. Tatham, the Medical QjSSicer of Health 
for Manchester, stated in his report in 1890 
that the working life of people in Man- 
chester township, which is the central part 
of the city, and not worse than many other 
towns, was curtailed by ten years. They 
are worn out ten years before their time. 
The average expectation of life among men 



from 1881-90 was stated by him to be for 
England and Wales 43.66 years; for the 
country districts 51.48 years; for Manchester 
28.78 years. Our people lose 30 per cent, 
of their lives, says Dr. Tatham. What days 
of weariness and pam, what encroachment 
of weakness and ill-health in the prime of 
life, all this mean& The acids of smoke anA 
its carbon particles operate upon the lungsl 
for years before they finally destroy them. | 

Sunlight is also a valuable disinfectant: 
light kills certain bacteria. The typhoid 
germ, for instance, dies under intense light. 

Plants are darkened as well as chok^ by 
soot and the sticky tarry products which are 
found in smoke. It is only under sunlight 
that they give off the oxygen we need from 
them, and take up the carbonic acid from 
the air : this is their breathing, and it is as 
necessary to them as ours is to us. Smoke 
also kills plants by lessening the fertility of 
the soil, through settling upon it and making 
it impervious to the air, so that it becomes 
sour. In the garden at the Bank of England 
the leaves have to be washed with soap and 
water every week. In the public garden 
attached to the University Settlement, An- 
coats, Manchester, the plants nearly all die 
and have to be renewed each spring; one 


cannot lean against a tree there, or sit on a 
garden seat, without spoiling one's clothes. 

From observations made during the five 
winter months of 1898-99 we learn that in 
London there is in winter half as much sun- 
light as in the South of England generally, a 
little more than one-third of what is recorded 
on the south coast stations, and only 12 
per cent, of what is astronomically possible.^ 
In other words, an eight hours day gives the 
Londoner one hour of pale sunshine only. 

The sun in a great English town may be 
seen on an average winter day only before 
breakfast, and for a conquering hour or two 
after midday. This last peculiarly sunny 
summer of 1906 gave the inhabitants of 
Manchester five and a half hours sunshine 
per day during the four summer months; 
and most of this must have been before they 
rose in the morning. Li October they had 
less than two hours per day. 

When Alkestis was making lamentation for 
her approaching death, her cry was that she 
would never more see the sunrise or the 
sunset — 

** WiUing to die instead of him, and watch 
Never a sunrise or a sunset more." 

^ Dr. W. N. Shaw, San. Inst. Congress, Manchester, 1902. 



In Homer the wail for loss of life centres in 
a last farewell to the light of the sun. But 
most of our population have ceased, in an 
ordinary way, to see sunrises and sunsets; 
they, if they think of death, miss seeing 
the cheerful street lamps and the exhilarating 
glories of the well-dressed shop fronts. The 
British Empire, it has been said, is one on 
which the sun never rises. 

In cities like this all heart is taken out of 
the effort to design or to pay for or to enjoy 
beautiful buildings. Forty years ago, Ruskin, 
speaking to the Society of British Architects, 
said: — 

"All lovely architecture was designed for 
cities in cloudless air; for cities in which 
piazzas and gardens opened in bright popu- 
lousness and peace; cities built that men 
might live happily in them, and take delight 
daUy in each others' presence and powers. 
But our cities, built in black air, which, by 
its accumulated foulness, first renders all 
ornament invisible in distance, and then 
chokes its interstices with soot ; cities which 
are mere crowded masses of store, and ware- 
house, and counter ; and are therefore to the 
rest of the world what the larder and cellar 
are to a private house; cities in which the 
object of men is not life, but labour ; and in 


which all chief magnitude of edifice is to 
enclose machinery ; cities in which the streets 
are not the avenues for the passing and 
procession of a happy people, but drains for 
the discharge of a tormented mob, in which 
the only object in reaching any spot is to be 
transferred to another, in which existence 
becomes mere transition, and every creature 
is only one atom in a drift of human dust 
and current of interchanging particles, cir- 
culating here by tunnels underground, and 
there by tubes in the air ; for a city, or cities, 
such as this no architecture is possible — nay, 
no desire of it is possible to their inhabitants." 

And so the rich, and the well-to-do, and 
the modestly comfortable people, go away. 
Classes are separated in England chiefly by 
the accidental conditions of our fuel com- 
bustion. Had we been fortunate enough to 
burn anthracite or wood or natural gas, we 
might have realised better our common 

All those who can ajffbrd it find that they 
flag unless they leave town for a summer 
holiday in the country and for short hoUdays 
at other times. Into this necessity other 
elements besides the state of the atmosphere 
enter, but the longing for more fresh ahr than 
we have is strong and universal ; and however 



anomalous it is that we cannot find fresh air 
at our ordinary homes, we have become so 
used to it that it does not strike us as curious. 
But think of the condition of those poor — 
that is of the nation at large^who cannot 
take their month in the country, but must 
be content with a few crowded days, or a 
week of frantic fun, which is not rest, on the 
roaring promenade by the sea. The poor 
must, broadly speaking, find air and bright- 
ness at home, or nowhere. 

The eflFect of our atmosphere on temper — 
and thereby ultimately on temperament — is 
disastrous. What of the weary shop-gid 
trying under the electric lamps to suit her 
customers, who are themselves tired and 
choked by fog ? Think of the case of the 
teacher in the crowded elementary school in 
the murky afternoon, fighting the gloomy 
elements, and it is to be feared the children 
too, at the hour when the sunset light and 
the fresh air are coming in at the open 
window of the country schoolhouse. We are 
becoming nervous and irritable, wanting in 
the quiet calm of country contentment, and 
smoke is among our irritants. We know how 
different the powers of all of us would be if 
we breathed pure air, and on most days saw 
the sun. 


The fact is that we run up agamst the 
smoke nuisance in every elBEbrt to bring bright- 
ness, cleanliness, health, and even peace of 
mind to our working-class households; for 
when the fog is in the throat, and its smart 
in the eyes, and its dirt on our hands and on 
everything we touch, cheerfulness and polite- 
ness and most of the graces and benignities 
of intercourse are more difficult. If the 
working-class woman had the sun streaming 
in at her window, and her children were 
playing on the grass outside instead of in 
the black streets, her temper would be less 
sharp, her husband's evening life would be a 
quieter one, he would be more inclined to 
stay at home and so would drink less. It is 
hard indeed to make a little home in a grimy 
street as bright and as refreshing as a public 
drinking place. I once heard a woman in Old- 
ham explain to a sympathetic audience that 
she had had a large family to " contend wi'," 
and the force of that touching and expressive 
verb was, I am sure, heightened by the fact 
that the children with whom she had to 
''contend" had a remarkable aptitude for 
dirty faces and impossible hands. The" upper 
class men or women who try to be clean 
justly complain of their laimdry bills, but 
what of the industrious working woman with 


her dean doorstep and window ledge, her 
transparent panes of glass and her shining 
hearth ? These represent a large part of her 
working life, an immense tax of toil. She 
is brave indeed if she manages to have her 
children clean once a day; their clothes 
cannot be clean — they never are; and they 
do not smell clean if you encounter them 
in a mass. Every week some six himdred 
children crowd into the large room of the 
University Settlement in Manchester, and 
six hundred throats roar with joy whilst they 
are entertained for an hour and a half; but 
the room is not fit to breathe in — it is per- 
meated by the peculiar smell of six hundred 
dirty suits of clothes. The children, besides 
being dirty, are thin, undersized, and spotty. 
Two rows of cripples are at the front m 
reserved seats. These are the English folk. 
When we talk of Englishmen we need not 
consider such people as Oliver Cromwell, or 
the Duke of Wellington ; these children are 
the English people, and, moreover, they are 
the English of the next generation, upon 
whom the national future depends. 

It may be worth while to inquire whether 
a purer air would have much effect on trade 
and wages. It would make town life plea- 
santer, and so tend, other things being equal, 


to lower the "nominal" wages paid by the 
employer, whilst not diminishing the " real " 
remimeration received by the workman, or 
it might tend, and more probably would, to 
give him more "real" wage, whilst leaving 
his "nominal" wage unchanged. In fact, 
clean air would — slightly — stand for so much 
wage. The higher ranks of workers too 
would not have to live so far from town, 
and therefore a man would not have to 
deduct five or ten pounds a year firom his 
salary for a contract ticket before he esti- 
mated his nett receipts. He can therefore 
take a lower salary without loss to himself; 
or he might keep his present salary and 
gain the difference: which causes a gain 
either to economical production or to human 
life. The largest economic result remains, 
in the greater vitality, the stronger "nerves, 
and the longer working lives of our industrial 
population, if they lived in clean air. This 
would mean a gain in their power of pro- 
duction, and an increase in the reward of 
labour without increasing the real cost of 
production of commodities. 

The fact is that the smoke evil is a real 
and pressing one over the larger part of 
modern England — not only over the great 
areas which are the centres of population and 


manufacture. Smoke particles travel far, for f 
however good the wind may be, all the solidsfl 
which go up have to come down again some-f 
where. The area of smuts extends for forty 
miles round London. The Hon. Rollo Russell, 
observing the atmosphere for many years at a 
distance of forty miles south-west of London, 
has been able, after many records, to pro- 
phesy, by noting the velocity of the wind 
from the north-east, at what hour the London 
morning smoke will arrive, and his views be 
obscured in a brown haze. After a smoke 
fog at Richmond he finds ''a thick black 
deposit on the leaves of trees, and when the 
ponds are frozen the ice is soon covered with 
dirt from the foul and gloomy air." The 
moors in Derbyshire are dirty to sit down 
upon, and the sheep upon them are dirty in 
colour. Even the Lake District is not en- 
tirely free. From the top of Bow Fell the 
other day, when the sky was clear and the 
sun was hot, I could see the reason why the 
lower valleys were kept in a slight haze, for 
the upper part of that haze was of the well- 
known dirty brown colour, and hindered the 
evaporating effect of the sun : it was made of 
smoke, and had come, with several days' south 
wind, from iron- works and foundries far away. 
Mr. W. G. Collingwood tells me that he has 


noticed from the top of Goniston Old Man 
this dark cloud arise from the chimneys of 
the iron-works round the Fumess coast, and 
then slowly move north and cast its gloom 
over the evening at Coniston and Winder- 
mere, where at least one hoped that natural 
beauty was safe. 

I write this on a sunny hillside in the 
open air in the Lake District. Over the 
valley is to be seen the little knoll where 
Wordsworth consecrated himseM under the 
early morning sun to a lifelong communion 
with nature, and to ponder on and tell of 
the relation of the human soul to the Soul 
of the World. The whole valley is Words- 
worth's land, where he spent nine years of 
boyhood. Over the hill nestles Brantwood 
in its copses of oak, the home of Buskin — 
m his thoughts, in his words, in his life, the 
prophet of the Divine beauty. Neither of 
these great voices would have been raised at 
all had Buskin and Wordsworth had to live 
in South Lancashire instead of in the Lake 
District or other sunny places all their lives : 
if their perceptions had been blurred by 
always looking at our great grey monochrome 
of grime. Buskin says : " Of myself, however, 
if you care to hear it, I will tell you this 
much: that had the weather when I was 


young been such as it is now, no book suchk 
as * Modem Painters' ever would or covld^ 
have been written ; for every argument, and 1 
every sentiment in that book, was founded 
on personal experience of the beauty and 
blessing of nature, all spring and summer 
long ; and on the then demonstrable fact that 
over a great portion of the world's surface 
the air and the earth were fitted to the 
education of the spirit of man, as closely as 
a schoolboy's primer is to his labour, and 
as gloriously as a lover's mistress is to his 
eyes." "What would thus have been lost by 
these our best, is in less deeree lost by ordi- 
nary men in the modem town or coUiery 

If Plato is^right in the Phsedma that lovely \ 
things exhale a lovely influence on the human 
spirit, and conform those who see them to. 
their own beautiful nature, and if Words- J 
worth — that true Platonist — is right, that 

"Beauty bom of murmuring sound shall pass into^ 
her face/' 

then, indeed, we are exiling our masses 
from much that in the inward as well as t 
the outward makes life an experience worth ( 
having. " You cannot have a landscape : 
by Turner," says Ruskin again, " without a ^ 


Icountry for him to paint ; you cannot have 
[a portrait by Titian, without a man to 
>e portrayed. The beginning of art is in 
getting our country clean, and our people 
>eautifuL There has been art where the 
people were not all lovely, where even their 
lips were thick, and their skins black, be- 
cause the sun had looked upon them; but 
never in a country where the people were 
pale with miserable toil and deadly shade, 
and where the lips of youth, instead of being 
full with blood, were pinched by famine, or 
warped with poison." Smoke scatters sadness 
with its dirt, gloom of mind with gloom of 

To speak of the religion of beauty and its 
desecration is to raise deep issues. To my- 
self it hardly appears as though the love of 
beauty can be the central experience of a 
religion. Religion is the recognition of — and 
love of — a divineness in human affairs and 
ordinary life ; it is devotion to God — a finite 
life lived in the consciousness of the Infinite. 
It is true that we do recognise the beauty 
of the world as a part of Divine energy, as 
the garment of God, and so draw the love 
of nature up into divinity, but I do not 
believe that we grasp God by grasping His 
garment only. The pure and undivided 


heart, the consecrated will, the life of obedi- 
ence and hope, are the root of the matter, 
and I think are conditions for the religion 
of beauty which along with them comes 
in all its charm. A man who ignores the 
ethical commands of his religion may use 
and enjoy beauty indeed, but it will be an 
indulgence, a deUght, not a reUgion. There 
is more religion after all in a slum chapel 
than in the shaded groves and sunlit sea 
at Monte Carlo. It is to a freshly purified 
spirit that the beauty of the earth makes a 
sudden appeal. It was immediately on his 
spiritual liberation and fresh consciousness 
of God that George Pox says, that "the 
whole creation gave a new smell unto me 
beyond what words could utter." Cowper 
in contemplating the work of nature enters 
into a religious communion with it, in the 
thought that "my Father made them all." 
Buskin never climbed a mountain alone 
before he was forty without dropping on his 
knees at the summit to give thanks for what 
he saw. Browning seems at first sight to 
put the sequence otherwise — 

"O world, as God has made it, all is beauty, 
And knowing this is love, and love is duty.'' 

But for the context this would seem to nm 



counter to the idea that only those in whom 
a measure of duty and love are ah*eady 
active will find them stimulated by beauty. 
But the context explains it. It is only after 
haying his brow bared after the healing 
ministration of the Guardian Angel, and 
when " all lay quiet, happy, and suppressed," 
that the man is able to realise the sequence 
of beauty — love — duty. 

Nevertheless, when the central motive is 
thus right, how religious, how divine, becomes 
every lovely thing. " What need of temple," 
indeed, as Browning says in '' Easter Day," 
" when the walls of the world are that ? " We 
rejoice in sight and touch of the garment of 
God, and feel that its defilement by dirt and 
poison is a pollution of sacred things. 

Our joy in this beauty is our first, and 
it remains our most pure and mighty 
recreation; deprived of it the wandering 
quest of men leads them to find their plea- 
sure elsewhere — in alcohol — in gambling — 
in melodrama. Lurid are the artificial sub- 
stitutes for blue sky and the glory of green 
leaves: tinsel ornaments, trumped-up emo- 
tions, vicarious excitement, are called in; 
and the variety theatre and the music hall 
attempt the work of mental refreshment 
1 which might have come from woods and 


fields in shade and shine. The beauty of 
bright sunbeam and glowing colour is one 
of which one does not tire and one cannot 
have too much. For our ecstasy, our pas- 
sions, other gateways are provided, with their 
checks and their supreme need for modera- 
tion ; but for this pleasure no check is needed, 
for no surfeit is possible: it is a joy without 
reaction, refreshing, restful, and calm. The 
fiercer pleasures of appetite, the passions of 
the flesh, exist not for themselves, or only 
incidentally for themselves, but are the 
necessary spur and incitement to the main- 
tenance of the race ; they may run to ruinous 
excess and become demonic; they can so 
invert the right order of things that men 
may live to eat rather than eat to live ; but 
this delight in the beauty of the earth is 
not bound up with maintenance ; it is an end 
in itself; and becomes more pure and beauti- 
ful the more it is cultivate. Are we not 
here touching an ultimate good? Is not 
this among the things for which we exist, 
we and our passions and all our toils ? This 
is among the ultimate things for which we 
maintain the race. 

It is noticeable and discouraging that 
natural beauty does not apparently appeal 
much to most of the toiling poor. The 


farmhouse in the mountains usually faces 
away from the view up the hillside, and the 
windows look out upon the farmyard and 
the bam. All this means warmth in winter, 
security in the old Border forays, and con- 
venience in daily work ; but for many genera- 
tions both the aesthetic and the convenient 
might have been achieved. It would seem 
as though with the majority of mankind 
the elementary needs of livelihood have to 
be satisfied before the mind becomes at 
suj£cient leisure to enter into its inheritance. 
But so much of its inheritance as can be satis- 
fied by sunshine, cleanliness, and fresh air is 
eagerly grasped by poor and rich alike. 

If we leave a workman food and drink, 
and a home with wife and children in it, and 
the newspaper to be read in the gaslight, but 
deprive him in his grimy street of the beauty 
of the world, have we deprived him of what 
is necessary to the soul ? I believe that he 
retains the necessaries of the moral life, he 
is not prevented from being a good man; 
nor are the flowers of culture pulled up by 
the roots, but they are nipped off at the 
top ; we are starving his faculty and hinder- 
ing development; he has lost interest in 
spring showers and in lengthening days ; he 
knows nothing about the wheat and the 


weather; he relieves the unnatural tedium 
in undesirable ways. One cannot say that 
the love of beauty is the foundation of con- 
duct and character, but we believe that it is 
one of the final rewards of a rightly ordered 
life. Buskin said once Toore suo that the 
main purpose of education was 'Ho see the 
sky." But none of the faculties to which its 
glories brmg joy can grow in the gloomy 
town where there is no sky to see. 



When air laden with unseen water vapour — 
as all air is to some extent — ^is cooled, it parts 
with its vapour in the form of mist, rain, fog, 
or dew. The temperature at which this 
takes place is known as the dew point for 
that moment ; the warmer the air the more 
concealed moisture can be held in suspension 
in it. 

Change from warmth to comparative cold 
is perpetuaUy occurring everywhere; the 
alternations of day and night of themselves 
cause it ; and currents of air, some warmer 
and damper than others, frequently meet and 
mix, causing part of the joint current to be 
cooled and give off its water vapour. The 
radiation of heat into space from the atmos- 
phere and the earth is always going on with 
varying rapidity, producing cold and precipi- 
tating moisture. So that in town and country 
alike there will always be fog from time to 



time; but fog clean, white, harmless, and 
likely to vanish easily under the rays of the 
sun. When great cities like London, Man- 
chester, Newcastle, Glasgow, or Leeds are 
situated in river valleys, and themselves, by 
their many fires, intensify variations in 
temperature, there will be sure to be not 
infrequent fog. 

But what happens when the early factory 
smoke and that from the fresh-lit kitchen 
fire is added to the fog which the chill 
of night has produced? We shall find 
that it is smoke that causes the evil of fogs. 
The mere fact that every particle of fog 
requires a tiny dust nucleus in the atmos- 
phere round which to form, does not really 
affect the question, for in all parts of the 
atmosphere there is sufficient microscopic 
dust for this ; even far out on the ocean or on 
the tops of the highest mountains water 
vapour finds sufficient dust round which to 

But smoke causes the evil of fogs in three 
different ways. First, solid particles of soot 
radiate heat much more quickly than other 
kinds of dust. " Most of us have probably 
noticed how much more quickly asphalt is 
wetted by dew than is stone or brick: the 
radiative power of lampblack is well known, 


and this quality is not lost when the particles 
are scattered freely in the air ; thus fogs are 
more rapidly formed and more persistently 
maintained in the presence of coal smoke, 
than in ordinary country air." i Therefore, 
in one way, by cooling the air, smoke pro- 
duces fog, and when produced it is no longer 
white, but of the dirty yellow colour we know 
so well. 

Secondly, particles of soot block the 
way of sunlight. Under the canopy of 
smoke the buried streets cannot be reached 
by the heat from overhead. Similarly, 
radiation is hindered and frost kept at 

Thirdly, the tarry substances in smoke 
cover every globule of water with a thin 
sheath of oily deposit, which apparently pre- 
vents its evaporation.* 

The Meteorological Council, aided by the 
London County Council, made an elaborate 
study of the causes of London fog in 1902-3. 
They report that one fog in five is directly 
caused by smoke alone, and all the fogs 
are befouled and prolonged, and so changed 

^ Dr. Markel, at Manchester Conference on Beauty in 
Towns, 1905. 

' These are the results of the long study of London fog 
made by the Hon. Rollo Russell. 


as to become the great public curse of 

At Christmas 1904 there were about four 
days of heavy black fog all over South 
Lancashire and in many other parts. It was 
a memorable fog. The city gas supply in 
Manchester gave out ; people took a couple 
of hours to come in by train from the suburbs; 
the Christmas stock could not be sold by the 
dealers in provisions; people groped, and 
choked, and slipped in the dark streets, and 
at the end the money loss was counted up by 
tens of thousands. We told one another that 
all this was really avoidable, and the news- 
papers wrote sarcastic leaders to that effect. 
I was fortunate enough to be away at Gras- 
mere at the time, skating on Easedale Tarn 
all day in clear winter sunshine, while that 
moisture which smoke in the towns had kept 
warm and made into fog by hindering radia- 
tion, was represented by the most wonderful 
hoar frost I have ever seen; the frozen 
crystals weighed down every bough and 
garden spray, and covered the walls by the 
roadsides an inch deep in icy crystals. 

The Hon. BoUo Bussell has made a calcu- 
lation of the actual cost of smoke and fog to 
London each year : he took as a basis the one 
million houses and works of 1888, a number 


which has enormously increased since then. 
He put down:i — 

Waste of fuel, estimated at one-fourth . ;£ 1,000,000 

Extra washing and wear and tear of 

linen, &c. 2,150,000 

Dresses, curtains, carpets, blinds, and 
other textile fabrics damaged and 
renewed 1,000,000 

Increased mortality (valued on its 
economic side only), impairment of 
health, illness, and consequent ex- 
penses, reduced strength, hindered 
convalescence, lower vitality and 
working capacity .... 320,000 

Total . . ;^4,47o,ooo 

He then puts down a million for the follow- 
ing numerous miscellaneous losses: — ^"Slow 
destruction of stonework {e.g. Westminster 
Abbey), granite, marble, &c., on public and 
private buildings, and cost of cleaning ex- 
teriors; destruction of mortar, cement, &c., 
making re-painting necessary (see Angus 
Smith on ' Air and Bain ') ; painting of houses 
inside and outside ; restoring gildmg, metal 
work, shop fronts, signs, names of streets, 
advertisements ; restoring monuments, &c. ; 
(e.g. Albert Memorial and drinking fountain 
in Great George Street); window cleaning, 
skylight cleaning, &c., including station roofs ; 

^ " London Fog and Smoke" (P. S. King), p. 22. 


replacement of blackened wall papers, &c. ; 
depreciation or restoring of works of art, 
pictures, books, engravings, &c., in public and 
private collections: loss of time by artists, 
photographers, and other workers requiring 
daylight ; extra labour owing to tarnishing of 
silver, &c. ; damage to trees, plants, flowers, 
vegetables, fruit, in or near London ; loss of 
time by delay of trains, &c. ; accidents of all 
sorts, cost of fog signals, supervision of river 
traffic; extra gas, extra candles and lamps, 
both in dark fogs and in shortened morning 
and evening light throughout the year ; extra 
fuel burnt owing to want of sunshine and 
loss of warmth ; cost of chimney sweeping, 
cowls, light reflectors ; absence &om London 
of many of its richer citizens, and depreciation 
of house property." This category of losses 
has excited the attention of the Commis- 
sioners of Works, who have addressed a 
memorandum to Parliament on it. 

The total comes to £sA7o,ooo, which re- 
presents about £i per head, and is not far 
from the cost of the coal used in London 
houses. It is impossible to remember many 
figures, but it may be easy for the reader to 
recollect that the smoke costs nearly as 
much as the coal. John Bright is reported 
to have said that a sunny day was worth a 


million sterling to England. This estimate 
of solar energy may be more oratorical than 
mathematical; but the value must be very 

The foggy haze also deprives what sunlight 
gets through of its eiSciency and its heat. 
The fog inquirers of the Meteorological 
Council — Capt. Carpenter and Mr. Lempfert 
—had a system of burning-glasses to show 
what the real power of the sun was during 
two winter months. It was found that during 
December at Bunhill Row, E.C., 83 per cent, 
of the burning power was lost, and in West- 
minster 61 per cent.^ The same inquirers 
found that the average distance to be seen 
from the summit of St. Paul's or the West- 
minster Palace Tower on a winter afternoon 
was only half a mile, due to the presence of 
a steady light haze made by smoke. For 
many winter months these two points were 
invisible one from the other. The block in 
atrial circulation caused by smoke keeps 
every kind of sulphurous and other impurity 
from being carried away. That is why the 
fog smarts in our eyes and chokes in our 
breathing tubes. 

During a famous fog in London in 1880 
some 3CXX) people more than usual died in 

^ Dc W. N. Shaw, London Oonferenoe, 1905, p. 49. 


three weeks, and the Hon. BoUo Bussell 
estimates that $0,000 must have been 
ill from its effects.^ A still worse case 
occurred in 1892, when after a heavy fog 
there were 1484 additional deaths in a week 
in London. A large part of this illness and 
death is caused by the soot passing into the 
breathing tubes and producing bronchitis; 
the delicate membranes of the lungs become 
clogged and inflamed with sticky soot, and so 
become diseased. Fog, indeed, may be re- 
garded just as the means of bringing the 
effects of smoke home to us in a continuous 
and concentrated form. 

When a town dweller is subjected to a post- 
mortem examination his lungs are found to 
be coal black in colour, and on microscopic 
examination, or even with the naked eye, 
they are seen to be full of minute particles of 
carbon. A cold fog will kill bronchial patients 
like a poison. The fog and smoke drive 
people to keep their windows and doors shut 
against it, and in the close atmosphere there- 
by produced consumption does its work. 

Nor are the evil effects of smoke confined 
to temporary experiences of fog which leave 
behind them no permanent effect upon the 

^ Hon. Rollo Rassell on ** London Fog/' p. 20. 


There are few men of the nineteenth century 
who, through a long life of leisure for such 
pursuits, have studied the clouds, the colour 
of the sky, and the effects of storm and wind, 
as did Ruskin. The Storm Cloud of the Nine- 
teenth Century was a constant pre-occupation 
and a serious trouble to his later years. He 
delivered two lectures upon it at the Royal 
Institution, and the Brantwood diaries, pub- 
lished in the new Library Edition of his works, 
contain his notes concerning the disagreeable, 
dirty, choppy storm wind, bringing up shape- 
less, ugly, dull-coloured clouds, and darken- 
ing the days all over Western Europe. His 
numerous notes of sunsets and sunrisings, his 
wonderful descriptions of them, and his extra- 
ordinary faculty of minute observation, give 
him great claim on our trust in this matter ; 
nor is it open to any one to say that he was 
unable to distinguish between fact and imagi- 
nation. These things were written down in 
his diaries before ever his brain-power had 
been temporarily extinguished in delirium, 
and, even in the later and more invalid years 
of his life, the distinction between illness and 
health was always clear; and he remained 
when he was well, to the end of his life an 
entirely competent observer. 

He says that the plague cloud began 

STORM 0L0T7D 31 

gradually about 1 87 1 • Now it so happens that 
our accurate figures concerning the consump- 
tion of coal began in 1873 at I20,ocx),ooo 
tons annually, and have now increased to 
234,000,000 tons. I include the coal ex- 
ported, for this is not an English, but a 
European phenomenon. During the same 
time Germany and Switzerland have been 
largely industrialised, and the same may be 
said in a much less degree of Italy and 
France. This expert, then, in the shape 
and colour of clouds, who lived and observed 
throughout the period of asserted atmos- 
pheric evolution, describes in his "Storm 
Cloud" the weather of his youth and 
maturity thus: — 

" In fine weather the sky was either blue or 
clear in its light ; the clouds, either white or 
golden, adding to, not abating, the lustre of 
the sky. In wet weather, there were two 
diflFerent species of clouds, — those of benefi- 
cent rain, which for distinction's sake I will 
call the non-electric rain- cloud, and those of 
storm, usually charged highly with electricity. 
The beneficent rain-cloud was indeed often 
extremely dull and grey for days together, 
but gracious nevertheless, felt to be doing 
good, and often to be delightful after drought; 
capable also of the most exquisite colouring 


under certain conditions; and continually 
traversed in clearing by the rainbow; and, 
secondly, the storm-cloud, always majestic, 
often dazzUngly beautiful, and felt also to 
be beneficent in its own way, affecting the 
mass of the air with vital agitation, and 
purging it from the impurity of aU morbific 

" Often in our English mornings, the rain- 
clouds in the dawn form soft level fields, 
which melt imperceptibly into the blue ; or, 
when of less extent, gather into apparent bars, 
crossing the sheets of broader cloud above ; 
and all these bathed throughout in an un- 
speakable light of pure rose-colour and purple 
and amber and blue, not shining but misty- 
soft; the barred masses, when seen nearer, 
found to be woven in tresses of cloud, like floss 
silk, looking as if each knot were a little swathe 
or sheaf of lighted rain. No clouds form such 
skies, none are so tender, various, inimi- 
table. Turner himself never caught them. 
Correggio, putting out his whole strength, 
could have painted them — no other man." 

Here is his first record of the plague wind, 
from Fors Clavigera (Letter viii.) : — 

" It is the first of July, and I sit down 
to write by the dismallest light that ever 
yet I wrote by; namely, the light of this 


mid-summer morning, in mid-England (Mat- 
lock, Derbyshire), in the year 1871. 

" For the sky is covered with grey cloud ; — 
not rain-cloud, but a dry black veil, which no 
ray of sunshine can pierce ; partly diffused in 
mist, feeble mist, enough to make distant 
objects unintelligible, yet without any sub- 
stance, or wreathing, or colour of its own. 
And everywhere the leaves of the trees are 
shaking fitfully, as they do before a thunder- 
storm; only not violently, but enough to 
show the passing to and fro of a strange, 
bitter, blighting wind. Dismal enough, had 
it been the first morning of its kind that 
simimer had sent. But during all this 
spring, in London, and at Oxford, through 
meagre March, through changelessly sullen 
April, through despondent May, and darkened 
June, morning after morning has come grey- 
shrouded thus. And it is a new thing to me, 
and a very dreadful one. I am fifty years 
old, and more ; and smce I was five, have 
gleaned the best hours of my life in the sun 
of spring and summer mornings ; and I never 
saw such as these till now. It looks partly as 
if it were made of poisonous smoke ; very 
possibly it may be: there are at least two 
hundred furnace chimneys in a square of two 

miles on every side of me." 



The characteristics of the plague wind are 
that it brings darkness with it; that it 
is fitful and irregular, causing a general 
purposeless trembling of the foliage; that 
it comes from no particular quarter, but 
intermittently from several quarters in suc- 
cession ; that it blanches not reddens the sun 
if seen through it; that the clouds it brings 
are often a dirty brown, and generally shape- 
less and ragged. Ruskin never went beyond 
a single suggestion that it might perhaps be 
due to smoke ; he does not seem to have been 
convinced about that; to his mind it appeared 
something like a visible form of heavenly 
displeasure for the sins of the modem world. 
But smoke it is, mixed with damp. Air 
currents meet the gaseous products of com- 
bustion, mixed with minute material particles, 
and are hindered or diverted in their course 
thereby, and move forward dirty, irregular, 
and scattered. It would appear as though 
the upper air did not always have time to 
become cleansed each day from the gases and 
carbon which rise into it : there is not enough 
free space at hand, and an unclean atmosphere 
blocks what was the serene expanse of the 

The evil has become in its totality too vast 
for local distinctions to be more than partial, 


and merely local remedies effectual. Buskin 
writes from Vevay, on the Lake of Gtoneva, so 
long ago as 1869 : — 

" I am writing where my work was begun 
thirty-five years ago, — within sight of the 
snows of the higher Alps. In that half of 
the permitted life of man, I have seen 
strange evil brought upon every scene that 
I best loved, or tried to make beloved by 
others. The light which once flushed those 
pale summits with its rose at dawn and 
purple at sunset, is now umbered and faint ; 
the air which once inlaid the clefts of all 
their golden crags with azure is now defiled 
with languid coils of smoke, belched from 
worse than volcanic fires." ^ 

In looking forward to the time when broad 
lands should be owned by the Guild of S. 
Gteorge, he wrote, " Over those fields of ours 
the winds of heaven shall be pure." But it 
is clear that they cannot be pure alone. It 
is only by purifying the air of all England 
that the Guild can carry out its Master's 

^ " Queen of the Air," Introduction, p. viii. 



The useful part of coal consists of carbon 
and hydrogen compounds, and the heat re- 
sults bom burning the carbon and hydrogen ; 
that is, combining them with oxygen from 
the air. Coal also contains some oxygen and 
nitrogen, and many impurities; minerals 
which appear in the ash, and sulphur, which 
goes to make the sulphuric acid of smoky 

When the combustion, i.e. the imion with 
the oxygen of the air, is perfect, the hydrogen 
joins with oxygen to form steam, and the 
carbon joins with the oxygen and makes 
carbonic acid gas (COg). In an ideal con- 
dition these two would go up the chimney 
along with nitrogen from the air and some 
other compounds. Carbonic acid is not 
directly poisonous ; there are always at least 
three parts in ten thousand present in the 
atmosphere, and four in ten thousand in 


towns. It ifl given out in our breath, by all 
animals and decaying matter, and it is the 
food of the leaves of plants when in sunlight. 
It is what causes the effervescence of aerated 
waters. Whilst it does not support life we 
take no harm from breathing it in the usual 
small quantities. The first application of 
heat to coal Uberates the hydro-carbons 
— ^gases which bum with the smoky flame 
which appears when you put coal on a fire. 
The trouble with them is that they are 
produced at a lower temperature than that 
at which they can be burnt. To bum them 
completely, and so avoid smoke, a strong 
draught of air is needed, along with great 
heat for a sufficiently long time. If there is 
not air enough, the hydrosfen takes all there 
is. and leaves the carbon bfhind in the smoke 
to form soot ; if it is not entirely left behind, 
it is half burnt, making the poisonous gas 
carbon monoxide (CO); only one atom of 
oxygen instead of two joining an atom of 

Then more slowly, the coke, the red part 
of the fire, bums, demanding a smaller supply 
of air. 

Therefore we need to supply a varying 
amount of air ; the most for a period of from 
three to five minutes immediately afber 


stoking a boiler. Moreover, the air should 
not be much more than is needed, or it cools 
the gases below the point where they bum, 
and also wastes the heat of the boiler. We 
must, therefore, have a hot furnace or com- 
bustion chamber where the gases are kept 
for a time sufficiently long to be thoroughly 

It is to solve the problem presented by 
these conflicting requirements of great heat 
and ample but intermittent fresh air that 
engineers have addressed themselves. The 
most obvious and simple course is to provide 
a hot blast, and to stoke frequently, and only 
put on a little at a time. When a large 
quantity of fuel is put on at once it chills 
the heat of the previous fire, which is prob- 
ably burning low, and it also causes the 
giving ofiE of more hydro-carbons than there 
is air to bum. A great smoke follows, and 
continues till the two requisites for com- 
bustion, oxygen and heat, are again in the 
ascendant. This excess of hydro-carbons is 
exactly what arises when a lamp wick is 
raised too high and the lamp smokes. Too 
much oil is Ughted for the available air to 
bum properly. The same follows if you take 
the lamp chimney off; there is no longer the 
draught of air which the chimney sets up. 


and the flame becomes smoky at once for 
■want of it. 

If, however, a little coal can be sprinkled 
regularly on to a red-hot boiler fire, the heat 
is great enough to bum it, and the gases on 
their way up the furnace are subjected over 
the glowing fire to great heat for long enough 
to complete the process, and send steam and 
carbonic acid gas up the chimney, the latter 
constituting in complete combustion about 
12 per cent, of the chimney gases; a large 
part of these is of course the nitrogen of the 
air. This demands an almost automatic 
exactitude and constant watchful care upon 
the part of the stoker, in a stoke-hole where 
supervision cannot be constant. This sketch 
of the process of combustion shows that the 
problem is a chemical as well as an engineer- 
ing one ; and that the boilers in any factory 
should be imder the control of a chemist, 
and be constantly subject to his analysis of 
the chimney gases. 

The waste of heat when through insuffi- 
cient combustion the carbon is only par- 
tially burnt and carbon monoxide formed, 
is about three-quarters of what the heat 
might be. The heat produced by burning 
one pound of carbon to COg, or car- 
bonic acid, is 14,647 British thermid units : 


burning the same to CO only produces 445 1 

Smoke consists not only of soot, but also 
of silicates and other mineral ash, and of 
what is the most pernicious part of all — 
hydrochloric and sulphurous acids, and 
tarry oils which give the fatal stickiness to 
the dirt deposited. Sir William Thiselton 
Dyer's figures give as the soUd deposit at 
Kew nearly two tons per acre per annum. 

The least harmful part of smoke except 
the steam is the carbonic acid. It is only 
when it is confined by a canopy of soot-laden 
fog that it fails to diffuse itself harmlessly in 
the atmosphere, and becomes too concentrated 
for health, causing depression and lowered 
vitality. It is not imcommon in a town fog 
to have the normal quantity of carbonic acid 
doubled. This is like breathing other people's 

The sulphur, which exists in small quan- 
tities of nearly 2 per cent, in coal, is also 
burnt, and goes into the atmosphere as 
sulphurous acid (SOg). This is inevitable 
unless we first turn coal into gas, and then 
bum that. Coal loses its sulphur in the 
process of gas making. Even then much of 
it appears in the coke. This acid has always 
in it the possibility of mischief, but if it were 


scattered freely into the air, it would do much 
less harm than it actually does, when mixed 
with and attached to the soot and tarry oils 
of the smoke. If free, it would be dissolved 
by rain, greatly diluted, and mostly washed 
away. In its present condition of mixture 
with soot it settles on buildings, iron railings, 
and the leaves of plants ; it acquires another 
atom of oxygen, becomes sulphuric anhy- 
dride (SOs), and then, joining with a molecule 
of water, becomes sidphuric acid (H2SOJ, 
which at once corrodes the stone or iron of 
buildings or kills plants. Dr. Markel pointed 
out at the Smoke Conference of 1905 that 
this corrosive action is continuous and pro- 
gressive, the acid acting as a means of 
bringing oxygen from the\ir, which it parts 
with to the^on, and then goes for more, 
producing ever more rust, weakening girders, 
and wearing away bridges.^ Manchester air 
was found by the Air Analysis Committee in 
1 891 to contain fifty times as much sulphur- 
ous acid during winter as was found in a 
country place in Surrey. Dr. Bideal estimates 
that from half a million to a million tons of 

^ The acid and the iron make ferrous sulphate, which 
gathers oxygen from the air and becomes basic ferric- 
sulphate, which in contact with iron becomes ferrous 
sulphate again plus oxide of iron or rust. The process 
then starts again with the ferrous sulphate. 


this pestilent destroyer are sent into the air 
of London every year, covering statues and 
buildings with a crust of sulphates, to which 
soot can stick.^ 

Sulphuretted hydrogen — the " main prin- 
ciple " of a rotten egg — also occurs in small 
quantities in half- consumed smoke. Dr. 
Cohen, of University College, Leeds, has 
discovered it in soot as well as in the clear 
gases. It is poisonous, tarnishes sUver even 
when in minute traces, and destroys paint. 

The larger part of the miscellaneous im- 
purities finally settles among the soot as a 
dark-coloured, sticky oil, which Dr. Cohen 
foimd to be 15 per cent, of the total 
weight. This is why soot sticks to every- 
thing and leaves its mark; and why rain 
cannot thoroughly remove it. It is thickly 
deposited on a mature evergreen leaf in any 
town garden. 

Many manufacturers consider that it is 
more economical to work with slight smoke 
than with none at all. The loss on smoke 
itself is not great, and the puff on the chimney- 
top shows that there is no excess of air, and 
consequent cooling and waste. That is, they 
prefer to err on the safe side of expense. 
This issue is not an immediately pressing 

^ Smoke Conference, 1905, p. 21. 


one. We shaU be for some time so occupied 
with the great transgressors, the blatant and 
reckless public enemies, that any one who 
watches with comfort a faint whiff at his 
chimney-top at stoking time will be left 
thankfully in peace. But it is the limiting 
case; and as our apparatus improves, an 
analysis of chimney gases, and an eye to the 
coal bill will surely give safer results, and 
keep a clean chimney. From that ideal we 
must not depart. 



Some manufacturers are fond of saying 
that most of our smoke is due to domestic 
fires. Dr. D. N. Shaw estimates that 70 
per cent, of the London smoke is domestic.^ 
In the large manufacturing towns, or where 
mills or collieries abound, it is of course 
much less than this ; while in such places 
as Cheltenham or Leamington or Southport, 
domestic smoke would account for nearly 
all. But then in these places the smoke 
nuisance is small A Sunday morning walk 
in a manufacturing district, at a time when 
the mill chimneys are not in action, and 
the atmosphere relatively is clear and sunny, 
would support the belief that the factories 
cause more smoke than the cottages. 

Dr. Crawshaw, of Ashton-under-Lyne, con- 
tributed an interesting observation to the 
Manchester Oua/rdia/n of November 22, 

^ San. Inst. Congress, 1902. 


1906. A heavy fall of snow occurred in 
the early hours one Christmas morning, 
which was a Friday. The mills were shut 
till the following Monday morning, and on 
Sunday afternoon the snow on the house- 
tops was almost as white as when it fell, 
even in spite of the smoke of all the 
Christmas cooking m the houses, and the 
warm fires kept up for a snowy Christmas 
time. By nine o'clock on Monday morning, 
when the factories had begun, the snow 
was thickly covered with particles of soot. 
Observations were made some fifteen years 
ago in Manchester by Dr. Bailey for a Town 
Gardening Committee as to the local distri- 
bution of the soot-fall, and the opinion was 
expressed that it was heavier in the parts of 
the city where most dwellings are than in 
those where most factories are ; but such an 
attempt to discriminate is apt to mislead, 
for there is no clear distinction between 
such localities in Manchester. The height 
of the factory chimneys leads the soot to 
be deposited a little further off, but none 
the less deposited in the end; and the 
central part of the city, where the smuts 
are very bad, is neither a residential nor 
a factory locaUty, but it naturally receives 
contributions from more smoke-producing 


sources than anywhere else on account of 
its being in the midst of them. 

It is, however, said that domestic smoke, 
being given off at a lower temperature than 
furnace smoke, contams more of the offen- 
sive oily compounds which stick, and are 
particularly fog-forming. But the rela- 
tive clearness of the air on Sundays and 
public holidays is a forcible argument in 
the case against factories. The proportion 
between the two varies, of course, from place 
to place; but the proportion does not 
matter. It is the two together which 
make it an urgent question; and both 
must be attacked. But there is less to 
be said for the manufacturer than for the 
householder. We all have an equal need 
of the domestic hearth, but smoke-making 
manufacturers add to the dirt of their 
private chimneys an utterly disproportionate 
contribution to public damage. Moreover, 
the law is already on our side, and a groan- 
ing, half-articulate public opinion. I shall 
hope to show that the engineers have solved 
the factory problem, while the fireside is 
not yet completely curable unless by the 
new promise held out at the end of this 
chapter. We are bound, therefore, to press 
the more immediate hope first. Then 


regulation will be more just, more practicable, 
and more successful than is at present the 
case in private houses. It was admitted by 
Sir George Armytage, the chairman, and 
Dr. Des Voeux, as witness before the Royal 
Commission on Coal Supplies (voL ii. p. 184), 
that the waste of coal in London was nothing 
compared with that in the factory districts. 

Included in the report of the Royal Com- 
mission is a calculation by Mr. Beilby that 
36,000,000 tons out of 168,000,000 used in the 
country, or only 21.4 per cent, of our home 
consumption, is used in domestic fires. The 
Commissioners in their Report finally accept 
32,000,000 tons, or 19.2 per cent., as approxi- 
mately true.^ House fires are not probably 
very much more smoky than boiler fires 
badly stoked in places where mechanical 
stokers or other preventive devices are not 
used. They may perhaps make over one- 
fourth of our total smoke — this can only be 
guessed at — but it is scattered everywhere 
over the country, and much of it delivered in 
small portions, too small to be an evil. It is 
therefore wrong to decline to take up the 
more practicable and the larger reform till 
we have cured the more obstinate remnant. 
Let them improve together. Domestic 

^ B. Com,, voL iii. p. lit 


smoke is urgent enough for reform, and 
much may be done, though we are faced 
with a heavy mass of habit, and with many 
vested interests in smoky firesides. 

Surely the reward of the cost and trouble 
of this reform is well worth while — the 
reward of a clean town. But one has no 
reason to think that it will become general 
unless the pressure of authority is brought 
to bear; that is, unless the better public 
opinion can lift the less advanced. Mean- 
time let those whose eyes are opened feel 
it to be part of their citizenship to make 
themselves centres of smoke consumption.^ 

There seems little reason why many of 
us should not bum coke ; and if we yearn 
for flame sometimes, put a log of wood on 
the top. The coke is difficult to light, but 
this may be managed by bringing an iron 
gas-pipe with holes in below the fire, in the 
manner of a Bunsen burner. When this 
has been lit for ten minutes the fire is 
lighted for the day. There are no fumes, 
or dryness, or stuffiness. By this plan much 
expense is saved, for coke is cheap. There 

^ Those who incline to try anthracite stoves can obtain 
them from Ernest E. Fither, 36 Mortimer Street, London, 
Wm whose smokeless kitchen ranges and water heaters 
are very well spoken of by their customers. 


is no firewood to buy or chop, no trouble 
in Ughting, no soot in the room, no chimney 
sweeping, the fire gives off heat immedi- 
ately the gas is lighted, and a coke fire is a 
hot one. The late Sir Charles Cookson, 
C.B., E.C.M.G., had this plan in use for six 
years in the seven grates of all types in 
his house in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, and 
strongly recommended it for the reasons 
above given.^ The gas for lighting up cost 
him a halfpenny a week per fire. This appears 
to be one good way out of domestic smoke, 
and it will do with any grate that has a 
good draught and not too broad a chimney. 
A combination of coke with gas always turned 
on is a good one. 

Of hot water boilers, the upright cylinders, 
with a coke fire in the middle and the hot 
water like a blanket all round it, are happily 
coming into general favour, which in my 
own experience they deserve. The use of 
the kitchen fire is thus reduced to little 
but cooking. Here gas cookers come in. 
They are popular with cooks. The kitchen 
is not made too hot to be good-tempered 
in. They are altogether a much neater 
and more civiUsed device than hauling up 

^ His paper is in the Report of the Smoke Conference, 


boxes of coal and throwing them on a fire. 
They are becoming more and more popular 
every year. The gas companies alone have 
increased the number in use by 850,000 in 
ten years in London and twenty provincial 
towns. Thirty thousand are in use in Man- 
chester, lent gratuitously by the Corpora- 
tion, and 6000 fresh ones are added every 

For passages, bedrooms, offices, consulting 
rooms, and all rooms only occasionally 
warmed, gas stoves are convenient and 
economical. One I have lately installed 
(Langfield, 237 Deansgate, Manchester), has 
a clever arrangement of pipes up the back 
communicating from below with the outer 
air, which bring in more fresh warm air 
the more you heat the stove; there is a 
pipe to take cold air out, and there is a 
simple evaporation tank attached to prevent 
undue drying of the air, if any one prefers 
to maintain this ancient superstition. In 
haUs and dining-rooms coke stoves of the 
continental tj^e might be used. 

There remain the sitting-rooms for those 
who refuse coke or gas. An open coal fire 
will always smoke a little; but there are 
degrees. The Coal Smoke Abatement 
Society has instituted three series of long 


and careful tests of grates.^ At the series 
of tests in 1901 the most successful grates 
were, in order of merit, "The Florence" 
(London Warming and Ventilating Com- 
pany, Ltd.) ; Helyear's Patent Tropic Grate ; 
Peate's Patent Front Hob Fireplace (28 Ber- 
ners Street, W.); Bowes' Patent Well Fire. 
The quality of this set of grates was about 
the same as the next set — the best not 
quite as good, but the last rather better 
than the last of the 1903 set. 

At the tests in 1903 the best was one 
named "The Tropican," made by Chavasse 
and Eerr, of Birmingham ; the second was 
one made by Messrs. Landers, Ltd., 8 Brad- 
ford Avenue, E.C. ; the third, the " Heaped " 
fire (Bratt, Colbran, & Co.); the fourth, 
the "Francombe" (Clark, Hunt, & Co.). 
The tests were for smokelessness, economy, 
and heating power. It is most striking to 
note how the most economical is also the 
hottest and the freest from smoke, and vice 
versd. The three tests are almost parallel 
if so arranged. This fact is supremely im- 
portant, for what is true of combustion on 
a small domestic scale is true also on the 
large factory scale. 

^ Detailed reports may be obtained from the Booiety, 
25 Victoria Street, S.W. 


The third test was carried out in the 
winter of 1905-6 on a larger scale than 
the others. Forty or fifty grates were sent 
in for testing, and the greatest care was 
taken. The best for economy, heat, and 
smokelessness were adjudged to be those 
of Messrs. J. & R. Corker, Ltd., of Saracen's 
Head Buildings, Snow Hill, E.C. (the " Draw- 
well" grate); Messrs. Candy & Co., Ltd., 
of Heathfield Station, Newton Abbot, Devon 
(the "Devon" fire); and Messrs. Hendry 
and Fattison, of 11 Hills Place, Oxford 
Street, W. (Boyd's "Hygiastic" warm air 
grate). These three show practically equal 
results; and the "Florence" grate of the 
London Warming and Ventilating Company, 
also sold by Messrs. Smith & Wellstood, 
7 Upper Thames Street, E.C., came very 
near to them. 

There was one grate which did not do 
itself justice among the competitors at 
these tests, and it is not now manu- 
factured; but I mention it here in the 
hope that some manufacturer may once 
more put it upon the market. 

The Amott grate was invented by Dr. Neil 
Amott about seventy years ago. He re- 
frained from patenting it in order that it 
might be of greater public benefit, but this 


philanthropic desire has, oddly enough, re- 
sulted in no maker taking up an article 
in which he could not have an exclusive 
right. It would appear that the children 
of this world are in certain generations 
wiser than the children of light. It is an 
under-fed grate ; the coal supply for the day 
is put into a box under the grate, whose 
floor bars are of course removed, and a 
screw forces up the coal to the top as it 
is needed. The fire is Ughted m the usual 
way at the top, and may smoke just at first, 
but for the rest of the day newly-lighted 
coal sends its flames up through the hot 
part of the fire, which is always red and 
smokeless. It is a wonderful fire for stay- 
ing in, and is very economical, and by 
covering the box with ornamental copper 
or other repousse work, it may be made not 
unattractive. Mr. T. C. Horsfall, M.A., J.P., 
of Swanscoe Park, Macclesfield, has been an 
active public advocate of this grate, which 
he has used in his own house for twenty- 
seven years with great success. Any in- 
tending manufacturer would receive the 
needed information from him. The late 
Sir William Gull used these grates for 
more than twenty years, and considered 
them a solution to the smoke difficulty for 


good-sized houses. Whilst it can never be 
a very cheap grate, it might, if made on 
a sufficiently large scale, be brought to a 
price low enough to enable it to sell freely. 

The Marsh grate is one which was not in- 
eluded in the above tests, but when properly 
managed it is quite smokeless. It is on 
the down draught principle, and may be 
used for fire grates or for kitchen ranges. 
It was manufactured by Messrs. H. Leggott 
and Co., of Bradford, Yorkshire, but that firm 
has ceased to exist there. It is cheap and 
economical. It is the only grate I know 
which will serve all the purposes of a cot- 
tage kitchen fire. But the jurors of the 1882 
Exhibition say that the top and front of 
the fire, where the draught enters, are apt 
to be cold, and the best of the combustion 
takes place at the back. Moreover the clay 
slab on which it depends breaks away, and 
is always of uncertain quality. The ideal 
grate, which will cook, heat water, and look 
cheerful, all without making smoke, and so 
solve the cottage fire difficulty, I do not 
yet know of. Larger houses can divide 
these functions, and do them all with little 
or no smoke. 

At the Smoke Exhibition at South Ken- 
sington in 1882 the gold medal was awarded 


to Messrs. Brown & Green, of Luton, Bed- 
fordshire, and Finsbury Pavement, London, 
for a very successful under-fed grate, but 
the firm has now ceased to make it — a 
dispuiting conclusion. The need caUs loudly 
for the inventor. 

Good grates afford means of greatly dimin- 
ishing the smoke nuisance in places where 
gas and coke are unobtainable. Domestic 
smoke in the country need not trouble us. 
The only unavoidable delay in reform is that 
due to the existence of so many bad but 
durable domestic grates, which forbid us to 
look for more than a gradual reform. 

Not every one knows that a fire will light 
more quickly, and therefore make less smoke 
in the process, if the coal is laid with its 
grain vertical, pointing up the chimney. The 
material should be built up in a conical 
shape (see a letter by Mrs. Leo Grindon in 
Manchester Cov/rier, March 4, 1907). 

Another small point may be noted. When 
a local authority refuses to collect vegetable 
refuse the housewife without a garden must 
needs put them on the fire, where they make 
much smoke for a long time and spoil the fire 

The time is ripe for beginning the gra- 
dual grip of public control, the compulsory 


inspection and rejection of grates, with a pen- 
alty for excessive domestic smoke. If central 
heating of houses by hot-water pipes or stoves 
were tolerable to the English mind, we are 
told that we should save half our 32,000,000 
tons of coal. For it is estimated that the ordi- 
nary fire-grate wastes seven-eighths of its heat. 
Without pressing the accuracy of such esti- 
mates, we know that stoves are much more 
economical, and they or their equivalent will 
come into use as coal grows dearer. 

Cheap gas would do much to stop smoke : 
if cooking and heating could be done more 
economically by gas than by coal, how great 
would be the change. Some profit is usually 
made on gas for the relief of rates. At 
best this is only taxing irregularly, by use 
of gas, not by rateable capacity. The owner 
of cottage property benefits at the expense 
of the large gas-user, and even if everybody 
used gas in proportion to his rate assess- 
ment there is nothing to be said financially 
for a plan by which the pubUc, by paying its 
rates in an inconspicuous way in its gas bill, 
deceives itself into thinking that it does not 
pay them at all. Oddly enough, it has to 
pay income-tax on these factitious profits. 
This is far more than a mere inequality in 
this very unequal world. It is a public evil. 


We have in gas ready to our hands a prac- 
tical method of curing smoke. The man 
who uses gas instead of coal is causing so 
much less dirt and loss to the town. He 
ought not to pay aiT extra rate in his gas 
bill for doing this good to the public. He 
ought to pay less. This could be automati- 
cally achieved by selling gas at some trifle 
less than cost; to make a profit should be 
avoided by every gas committee, as a sin. 
In Plymouth, where gas is sold at is. pd., 
gas fires and cookers are common, and the 
air is remarkably clear. In the neighbouring 
town of Devonport gas costs 2s. 6d., and is 
used less, and there is the usual smoke 
nuisance. Mr. Martin states that the ordi- 
nary kitchener only uses 4 per cent, of the 
heat it receives, and smokes besides.^ It 
might be wholly abolished by gas at is. 6d. 
or IS. 9d., where gas at 2s. 3d. is a little 
dearer than coal. This difference is often 
no more than is swallowed up by gas profits, 
and by paying to the corporations rates on 
their own gas-works, a piece of account- 
keeping back and forward which might be 
spared for the sake of public cleanliness. 

One way of stimulatini? the use of i?as for 
heating would be by cha^g for gas for aU 

^ Jowrwd Society of Arts, March 30, 1906, p. 536. 


forms of heating the same rate as is now 
charged for heating for power. It is not easy 
to see why any difference has been made. 
There is much prejudice against gas stoves. 
They are said to be stuffy and to give off 
fumes. The zeal of the Coal Smoke Abate- 
ment Society produced in 1906, after a 
month's elaborate tests of twenty-five stoves, 
an authoritative report^ on their cost and 
their gaseous products from which I quote 
the summary conclusion : — 

" A properly-constructed gas stove, with a 
flue sufficiently large to carry away the pro- 
ducts of combustion, although for constant 
work more costly than a coal fire, is quite as 
satisfactory from a hygienic point of view, 
and does not in any way vitiate the air of 
the room, nor does it produce any abnormal 
drying effect as is popularly supposed. . . . 
It is only in the very largest gas fires that 
the calorific value of the fuel burnt per hour 
approaches that obtained in coal fires, being 
in the majority of cases only about one-third. 
Of this calorific value a higher percentage is 
utilised in warming the air of the room in 
the best coal fires than in the gas fires, when 
once a steady temperature has been attained, 
the ratio being roughly 3 to i in favour of 

^ Obtainable for 3d. from 25 Victoria Street, S.W. 


the coal fires. The percentage which is lost 
in the flue gases is, however, greater in the 
best coal than in the best gas fires. When 
the initial raising of the temperature of the 
rooms had been accomplished, and the fires 
had produced a fairly steady rise, the cost 
per hour for each degree of rise in tempera- 
ture was about four times as great with the 
gas fires as with the coal.^ This does not 
necessarily mean that gas is always more 
costly than coal ; other factors must be con- 
sidered, such as the rate at which the room 
is warmed. It was found that while the gas 
fires usually produced a fairly steady tem« 
perature in the rooms in from one to two 
hours, the coal fires took much longer. This 
is in favour of the gas fires. . . . Another 
point in favour of the gas fires is that they 
can be easily regulated and the heat of the 
room controlled in a way which is not pos- 
sible with coal fires. 

*' Taking into consideration the amount of 
coal which must be burnt before a comfort- 
able and steady warmth is produced, and 
also the amount which must be burnt after 
the fire is no longer required, the examiners 
think that even from the point of view of 

^ This is taking gas at 38. and 38. id. per looc^ and 
Goal at London prices. 


economy the gas would run the coal very 
closely for domestic uses, where it is seldom 
necessary to have a fire constantly burning 
for long periods. It is the lighting and 
letting out which makes the coal fire waste- 
ful, whereas a gas fire can be lighted and 
turned out as required without unnecessary 
waste of fuel. They are also of the opinion 
that a properly-constructed gas fire has the 
advantage of a coal fire from a hygienic point 
of view, owing to the more equable tempera- 
ture and the absence of dust and smoke. 
The flueless condensing gas fires, while very 
economical of gas, pour into the room a 
large quantity of carbon dioxide gas. With 
plenty of ventilation they would be very suit- 
able for warming rooms or passages where 
no flue existed to which an ordinary gas fire 
might be connected. These stoves make the 
most economical use of the gas burnt, but 
this is due chiefly to the absence of a flue 
and the consequent losses through it. When, 
therefore, such stoves are provided with 
sufficient ventilation to keep the air pure 
the heat is carried away in the air-currents, 
and in such circumstances they would pro- 
bably not be more economical than the 
ordinary stove provided with a flue. There 
is also the danger that if anything goes 


wroDg with the flame, and the combustion 
becomes imperfect, the poisonous products 
will be poured into the room instead; of 
passing up the flue as in the case of the 
flue stoves/' 

Within a few months from the date of the 
publication of this book, there will be placed 
on the market a new invention, the discovery 
of one of our ablest engineers, and backed by 
a strong mass of expert opinion and financial 
support, which bids fair to make a revolution 
in the whole question of firing for domestic 
use and possibly for raising steam. 

Mr. Thomas Parker, formerly of Wolver- 
hampton, known among engineers for having 
built among other things the Overhead Rail- 
way at Liverpool several years ago, and for 
having electrified the Metropolitan Railway 
recently, has produced a substance which he 
has called Coalite, which promises to cure at 
any rate the domestic smoke evil at a blow. 
This will no doubt gradually render out of 
date much of the inquiry into fire-grates 
which occupies this chapter, but it will add 
redoubled force to the plea for legislative 
efficiency in the chapters which follow. 
Under this process coal of any quality is 
subjected to distillation at a low temperature, 
and is afterwards cooled by being steamed. 


The process lasts one-fourth as long as it 
takes to make coke. By this method many 
valuable residuals are obtained which are 
destroyed in the ordinary gaa manufi«5ture. 
A valuable carbonite for the insulation of 
electrical apparatus is a bye-product; also 
petrol, benzine, pitch, and gas of twenty-five 
candle power; these valuable bye-products 
enable the final Coalite to be sold for the 
price at which the coal was bought. As it loses 
one-third or one-quarter of its weight in dis- 
tillation, the price per ton is likely to be one- 
third or one-fourth more than the local price 
of coal ; and the bulk correspondingly greater. 
But Coalite bums best under a slow draught, 
and itself bums slowly. The heat is not 
blown up the chimney, but radiates into the 
room usefully. 

It is absolutely smokeless. It bums cheer- 
fully with a small yellow flame, lights easily, 
and has a brown, heavy ash. It is clean to 
handle, light to lifi|;, and looks rather like 
coke. There are no fumes, and there will 
never be any chimney sweeping, if it bums 
for a century. The chinmey gases do not 
even soil a white ceiling, and require only a 
very narrow chimney. Thus far I describe 
it as I have seen it burning in fire-grates and 
kitchen ranges. Experiments as to heat 


produced per penny of cost, with boUers, 
are now in progress, and are so far very en- 

An independent analysis shows that it con- 
tains 15 per cent, of volatile matter, or half 
that in the original coal, and yields 5 per 
cent, of ash, i.i per cent, of sulphur, and 2.4 
per cent, of moisture. 

The change which this invention may 
produce on the face of England is greater 
than the imagination can realise. It may 
revolutionise English life. As citizens we can 
only hope that it will pay better to produce 
it cheaply in vast quantities than dearer as 
a luxury for well-to-do householders. 

The Coal Smoke Abatement Society have 
reported upon it that it produces a bright, 
lively fire with flame, that " it is absolutely 
smokeless, and an efficient remedy for the 
smoke nuisance." 



We now approach the boiler and furnace fires 
of our factories — where smoke is made on a 
wholesale scale. 

Conservative optimists tell us that after all 
a good hand stoker is as good as a mechanical 
invention. But for a regular automatic feed, 
a regular automaton must surely be the best 
workman ; particularly when a human work- 
man has to open the door and let in cold air 
each time he stokes. For some time to come 
we shall nevertheless have hand stokers, and 
even to use automatic machinery much care 
by the fireman is needed. Let us then give 
an intelligent man a chance of being a com- 
petent stoker, not overstrained. Let their 
work be paid as such skilled work should be ; 
let a bounty be given on economy of fuel, a 
public certificate be awarded to those who 
have not been fined for making smoke for a 
year, and let the hours be shortened. These 



men have to make up the fires before the 
factory begins, to stay oUing and doing odd 
jobs while it stops for meals, to remain after 
others have gone at night. Holidays for 
others are the times for overhauling engine 
and boiler, for doing repairs, and for cleaning 
flues; and the fires must not be let out on 
Sundays. These men are generally working 
about fourteen hours per day, most of Satur- 
day, and part of Sunday; say an irregular 
eighty or ninety hours per week. They have 
themselves put it to me that they do eighty- 
four hours' work for fifty-six hours' pay. 
They eat among the coals, rarely have a 
dinner hour, and live their working life in 
the stoke-hole. They lift twenty tons per 
boiler per week, and they have generally a 
fixed wage and no pay for overtime. To 
overwork them, therefore, is cheap and very 
remunerative, and some almost incredible 
instances of day and night work are told. 
These statements do not cover all cases, of 
course ; there are those who are paid for over- 
time ; but this is believed to be generally a 
faithful picture.^ We shall not be surprised 
to hear that 90 per cent, of the complaints 

^ See letters by Mrs. Higgs in the Oldham Cfhronide for 
June 6, 1905, and neighbouring dates. 



made against manufacturers in Glasgow are, 
according to the chief sanitary inspector, 
due to careless firing.^ 

Can we expect such hard-worked fellows to 
increase their labour by stoking every five 
minutes when every quarter of an hour can 
be made to serve? A system of relays of 
night watchmen who can stoke, thus giving 
a moderate day's work, would do much. Pay- 
ment should be by the hour, and (oddly 
enough) meal time should be essential. That 
men can be had for the work as it is is no 
answer. The work as it is makes the smoke 
as it is. 

I also suggest that the stoker, as well as 
his employer, be liable to a fine for making 
smoke, though clearly this can be evaded 
by agreement. 

Training of stokers is carefully done — as we 
might have guessed — in trained Germany. 
The Prussian Government subsidises it as a 
branch of technical education.^ 

Along with hand firing may be used various 
contrivances for producing the desired inter- 
mittent draught by automatic machinery 

^ Sir J. Ure Primrose, Smoke Abatement Conference, 
1905, p. 81. 

3 Paper by Commander Cabome, Smoke Abatement 
Conference, 1905, p. 59. 


which is set in motion every time the 
furnace door is shut. These are cheaper 
than the large mechanical stokers, and may 
be added to hand-fed boilers at little expense. 
While they can hardly claim to be perfect 
cures, they are all means towards perfect 
combustion, economy, and diminished smoke. 
The answers to a circular sent round to 
smokeless firms in London reveal, as it 
happens, few mechanical stokers, but many 
appliances of this simpler kind. It is fair 
to add that the firms give great weight to 
careful hand firing, but Welsh coal was 
chiefly used, or even anthracite or coke, so 
that this opinion may not stand for ordi- 
nary coal. Mechanical stokers cannot deal 
with anthracite, and are not needed for it. 
The same is practically the case with the 
Welsh semi-anthracite. 

I cannot attempt to name all or most of 
the devices, but 1 have heard good reports of 
the invention of Messrs. Broadbent, Islington 
Square, Salford, who have a cheap mechan- 
ism costing ;^I2, for opening a sort of 
Venetian blind in the furnace door. Sanger 
and Webster's Patent Automatic Smoke 
Burner (W. Ingham, Cromwell Buildings, 
Blackfriars Street, Manchester) is a device 
by which the closing of the fux:nace door 


opens an air door into the chamber at the 
back of the bridge and keeps it open for the 
right period.^ 

More thorough are those devices which 
mtroduce a strong draught of hot air into 
the furnace all the time, thus combining the 
two necessities for complete combustion, suffi- 
cient and prolonged heat, and a strong enough 
draught of air. With these mechanisms it does 
not matter if the air is at times in excess, for 
it is hot already. If it were greatly in excess 
it would mean a certain waste of heat, 
which, though saved from chimney gases, 
would escape too quickly up the chimney. 
This cure is simple, thorough, and perfect 
in theory ; it is very much cheaper than the 
mechanical stoker, and I incline to think 
that it will have large scope in the future. 
Of course, the hot blast of air has to be 
heated, but then all that heat tells on 
evaporation, and is not wasted if supplied 
in the right quantity. Hinchcliffe's patent, 
made by J. T. Thornton, of Paddock, 
Huddersfield, consists of a cast-iron oven 
in the firebox in which the air is super- 

^ others, taken from the Coal Smoke Abatement 
Society's Report, are: The British Fuel Economiser, 
Martin's Patent Door, Richard's Forced Draught, Coles' 
Furnace Door, Caddy's Tubular Bars, Johnson's Bcono- 
miser, and Venetian Rocking Furnace. 


heated and passed into the furnace. This 
claims to be a complete cure, and has passed 
some very convincing public tests. 

One of the best of all the devices which 
I have seen was brought out lately on a 
small scale by Mr. W. B. Marshall, at the 
Victory Works, Chamber Road, Oldham. It 
is a simple plan for letting in a stream of 
very hot air at the front of the fire, and also 
at the bridge. The stream has a velocity of 
1080 feet to 1200 feet per minute, and a 
temperature, there is reason to believe, of 
over 1200^ F. The apparatus is simple in 
the extreme, and needs no oversight of 
any kind. It is like a superheater, and 
occupies the space at the back of the 
boiler where the superheaters usually are. 
The air is let into the flue at the back, 
and passes through a "U "-shaped pipe, 
and then by a second box into a pipe of 
larger bore, 6^ inches in diameter, which 
passes the whole length of the horizontal 
flue, gaining heat e^ the time until it 
reaches the bridge and proceeds by two 
smaller pipes to each side of the fire door. 
This device is theoretically perfect, affording 
for the whole time of combustion plenty of air 
and a very high temperature. When these 
two requisites are combined in a strong 


draught of heated air, one feels that the 
problem has been attacked on right lines. 
In the boiler house at Lees Brothers, Old- 
ham, I watched a fire recklessly stoked, by 
way of experiment, when already full of green 
coal, and the result was a slight cloud of brown 
smoke for one minute from the chimney-top, 
which then ceased. With careful stoking, or 
in connection with an automatic stoker, this 
device ought to be nearly smokeless. It costs 
£60 per boiler. I examined the residual left 
in the horizontal flue before and after the use 
of this apparatus, and whilst before use it was 
chiefly carbon which ought to have been burnt, 
afterwards it was a brown ash which did not 
dirty the hands, and apparently contained no 
carbon. A letter from a manufacturer who 
is using it records that it has saved 10 per 
cent, of his coal bill, and has more than paid 
the initial cost by a year's coal economy. 

A hot blast invention by Mr. Edward 
Brimner, of 7 Mosley Street, Manchester, 
will shortly be brought out. It has varieties 
which adapt it for locomotives also. Its 
experimental trials have been very en- 

Hot air blasts are particularly useful where 
poor coal is burnt, as is often the case at the 


The use of forced or induced draught adds 
a further power of control over the rate 
of combustion. When the draught can be 
adjusted the combustion can be made more 
nearly perfect. If this draught is used along 
with one of these methods of supplying hot 
air at the front or at the bridge there need be 
hardly any smoke, and no need for the costly 
and too conspicuous tall chimney, which is 
at present the most striking feature in our 
national architecture. 

Mr. Joseph Crawford, in a paper read before 
the Manchester Association of Engineers on 
the 9th of March, 1907, says that with the 
mechanical draught induced by a fan about 
four times as much coal can be burnt per 
square foot of grate area as with the ordi- 
nary chimney draught ; the fire can be made 
thicker on account of the greater intensity of 
the draught, and in consequence less cold air 
per pound of fuel is needed, the air passing 
more slowly through the thick tire than 
through the thin one, and by the very 
intensity of the draught combining more 
completely with the fuel. He says that 
it is usual to use up 24 tons of air for 
every ton of coal, whereas theoretically only 
13 or 14 tons of air are needed for each ton 
of ordinary coal. More is in practice required 


for dilution, because we cannot expect that 
every particle of oxygen will come into 
contact with a particle of carbon. He claims 
that with a fan i8 tons of air can be made 
to do instead of 24 tons ; thus less wasted heat 
goes up the chimney. He states that one 
quarter of the heat produced generally goes 
up the chimney to produce the draught, but 
if the quantity of excess of air could be 
halved this would become one-eighth instead 
of one quarter. Against this the cost of 
driving the fan is trifling. 

This apparatus is particularly useful for 
electric light stations, on which the greatest 
demands are made in times of darkness and 
fog. The same fog which creates the sudden 
demand for light also checks the chimney 
draught, for the water vapour in the fog is 
lighter than air, and therefore tends to lessen 
the difference between the weight of the air 
outside the chimney and that inside. It is 
on this difference that the chimney draught 

We turn now to mechanical stokers, ad- 
mitted at the Royal Commission to be the 
most economical means of using raw coal. 
Mr. Stromeyer, chief engineer of the Man- 
chester Steam Users' Association, considered 
that the economy was almost wholly in the 


opportunity to use cheaper coal with them 
than with hand stokers.^ He also stated that 
heat loss in smoke itself was small. Its chief 
economic significance is that it is a warning 
that imperfect combustion is going on. 

The important report issued by those who 
conducted the well-known smoke tests in 
Paris from 1894 to 1897 states that hand 
firing cannot ever be entirely smokeless. For 
a minute at least after stoking there is likely 
to be smoke. Authorities agree that to 
attain the best boiler duty and to avoid smoke 
the fuel should be fed on to the front of the 
fire m small charges frequently, and the fire 
pushed back each time preparatory to 
stokmg. This is turnmg the man into a 
coking stoker, and is a hot task and a hard 
one. We go on, therefore, by a natural 
transition to the more drastic machinery by 
which the firing is done by hands of iron, and 
the furnace door kept shut. 

^ B. Com., vol. ii. p. 167. 



Of mechanical stokers there are three main 
types. Of these the oldest established is 
the ingenious coking stoker. The coal is fed 
automatically from a hopper at a rate which 
may be regulated, and in small quantities, on 
to bars which gradually move the fire back- 
wards. By this means the fresh coal is 
always at the front, and the smoke and 
hydro -carbons from it have to pass the 
whole length of the red-hot fire, and are 
completely burnt. The gradual movement 
backwards is achieved by bars which slowly 
move backwards all together, carrying the 
fire with them, but return with a sharp 
movement, half of them at a time, so that 
only every alternate bar moves at once. This 
does not carry the fire forward. There are 
yariations of this device by various makers. 
These stokers are very generally success- 
ful; they are economical and can be used 



without appreciable smoke with gentle work 
of the boilers. Their price varies. I have 
heard of a very good one costing £13$ per 
boiler, another costing ;f 105, and another 
costing ;^8o to ;^90. They do not, however, 
permit, unless aided by artificial draught, 
of forcing the boilers and still remain always 
quite smokeless, but even then they are far 
better than no device at alL They save the 
frequent opening of the fire door, which lets 
in excess of air and cools the furnace. The 
clinkers and ash can be removed while the 
furnace is at work, and the constant move- 
ment of the bars prevents their becoming 
clogged. The type has been steadily improved 
for a generation, and* is extensively used. If 
a hot blast, itself an economy, is added, and 
a fan for draught, success is assured, even 
under difficult circumstances. 

Some of the best-known makers of coking 
stokers are : — 

Messrs. T. & T. Vicars of Earlestown, 

Messrs. Meldrum of Manchester. 
Messrs. Cass of Bolton. 
Messrs. Sinclair of Leith, N.B. 
Messrs. Proctor of Burnley make a 

stoker combining both the sprinkler 


and the coking methods, and are 
now introducing a purely coking 

Mr. Bennis of Little Hulton, Bolton, long 
a maker of a well-known sprinkling 
stoker, has now a coking stoker on 
a new plan ready to bring out. 

Messrs. Hodgkinson, Pendleton, Man- 

The Auto Stoker, made at the Union 
Iron Works, Ashton-under-Lyne. 

Messrs. M'Dougall, Chadderton, Oldham. 

When great strain is put on a boiler it 
may be necessary to add a forced draught 
or an induced draught. Vicars, Meldrum, 
Bennis, and probably others provide, if de- 
sired, forced draught arrangements with their 
stokers. With a blast of hot air this makes 
an absolutely complete outfit, and coking 
stokers can always be fitted with a variety 
of draught arrangements. This type of 
stoker, in the form of a movable chain-grate 
common in America, is awarded the palm by 
Mr. Benjamin, an experienced smoke official. 
He writes: "With the complaint some- 
times made, that stokers cannot be forced, 
I have no sympathy. With an ordinary 
inclined grate stoker under a horizontal 


tubular boiler, I have forced a boiler to 
75 per cent, above its rating, with practi- 
cally no smoke, and with an evaporation of 
8 lbs. of water per pound of bituminous slack. 
It all depends upon the draught and upon 
the inteUigence of the fireman. Probably, 
however, none of us believe in forcing a boiler 
to this extent. It is bad for the boiler, bad 
for the stoker, and bad for the coal pile." ^ 

Mr. Hall, in 1 897, reported to the Steam 
Users' Association in Boston that mechanical 
stokers effected about 30 per cent, of 
economy in labour in large installations — 
the larger the installation the greater the 
economy — but that under this head of labour 
there was no economy in small installations. 
Mr. Benjamin states that one man can feed 
boilers giving 200 H.P. by hand, twice as 
much by good mechanical stokers, and three 
times as much with complete coal and ash 
handling equipments. 

The Sprinklers have an arrangement by 
which the coal is thrown in succession and 
in small quantities to three different dis- 
tances, thus preventing any part of the fire 
being black and smoky at any time. These 
stokers more easily meet a strain than the 
coking stokers, but they are not so perfectly or 

^ American Machinist, Oct. 20, 1906, p. 435. 


certainly smokeless. Firemen have told me 
that they had to help the sprinklers a little 
to spread the coal. The large pieces cannot 
be thrown so far back as the smaller ones. 

The Under-fed Stoker Company makes a 
stoker in which the coal, fed from the bottom, 
is completely burnt by the time it reaches 
the hot part of the fire at the top. The 
Murphy furnace, imported from America, is 
a variant on this principle. There are many 
such under-fed furnaces in America, where it 
is commonly used. 

To detail the various devices and strong 
points of these splendid inventions, and to 
give many tests, would be futile here. Any 
intending customer would obtain such in- 
formation more fuUy from the firms. All 
have a good record of success in saving both 
money and smoke. 

The years 1889 to 1895 were active in 
smoke prevention. As the outcome of much 
labour and public agitation, a Committee for 
testing smoke prevention appliances was 
formed, with Mr. Herbert Fletcher of Bolton 
as hon. sec, and the Report of this Com- 
mittee, which came out in 1895, contains the 
most careful and elaborate tests of all methods 
of steam raising which have yet been made. 
It may still be obtained from Mr. Fred, Scott, 


of 6 Booth Street, Manchester, price five 
shiUings. There are enshrined in tabular 
form the results of the enthusiastic labour of 
Mr. Fletcher, Mr Scott, and the engineers 
they employed. Hand firing, coking stokers, 
and sprinklers were all carefully tested under 
both ordinary and test conditions. Chimney 
gases were analysed and evaporation mea- 
sured. Any manufacturer desiring to be 
economical and smokeless should obtain the 
Report, always remembering that the twelve 
years which have since passed have seen 
many improvements in the appliances. 

By observmg all day for nine long days 
the forest of chimneys which send up to a 
heavy sky the smoke of Oldham and Bolton, 
it was found that on the average each 
chimney smoked ten minutes in the hour. 
Every chimney was noted once a minute, 
and 250 of these cloudy minarets were ob- 
served ; but the above average was based on 
179, before later observations were taken. 
The firm working each chimney was com- 
municated with, and the result showed an 
enormous gain in smokelessness where coking 
stokers were employed — particularly Cass's, 
Vicars's, the Thomliebank, and Meldrum's 
forced draught. There were twenty -one 
examples of Cass's stokers, whose average 


smoke emission was only sixteen minutes 
per day of ten hours. The Report says 
concerning Cass's stokers that "they come 
not far short of standing at the head also 
in power and economy" — and, "six of 
them, along with a Scotch example^ of a 
similar system, are far the best in the com- 
petition, both by water evaporated (close 
upon 12 lbs., including the economiser, per 
pound of carbon value in the coal), and by 
the proportion of carbonic acid in the waste 
gases (12J per cent.)." We may, therefore, 
conclude that this stoker, observed in so 
many examples, was the victorious machine 
in 1895. ^^^ sprinklers in that series 
showed results no better than hand firing. 
Of this latter many successful instances were 
given, which show that when watched, and 
on his mettle for a brief test, and particularly 
when in charge of one boUer only, a man can 
still do as well as a machine. But this gives 
no guarantee of what is likely to happen, 
unwatched, when it is dark, and the tired 
man has many boners to feed, for the whole 
of weary days. But, in fact, the tests do 
show what happens. A certain careful fire- 
man, in charge of one boiler, made only 
seventeen minutes smoke in a day ; but when 

^ Thomliebank, Benfrewshire. 


lie had three boilers to feed, with the draught 
weaker and the coal dirtier, he made eighty- 
six minutes; and when, so far as he knew, 
unwatched, he made forty minutes with one 
boiler. These are eloquent facts about hand 

For smokelessness only Sinclair's stoker 
came out the best, smoking only for four 
minutes in the day, but it was behind those 
above mentioned in power and economy. 

There are many other encouraging facts 
brought out by the Committee. At Brunner 
Mond's Chemical Works at Northwich, fifty 
boilers fitted with Vicars's stokers were found 
to be nearly smokeless, even when the gases 
were concentrated into three chimneys. At 
the same works, Mond gas combined with 
superheaters for furnace purposes was found 
capable of producing the highest tempera- 
tures needed without any smoke. This is 
important, for while it is sometimes conceded 
that steam can be raised without smoke, 
chemical manufacturers put in a special plea 
at times on the ground of necessity. As iron 
works and chemical works constitute the 
greatest difficulty, I will quote at some length 
from pp. 22, 23 of the Report on that point, 
showing that they can use gas greatly to their 



'' In some of the furnaces of chemical works, 
especially where coal is used as an ingredient 
of the mixture to be heated, as in the black 
ash furnace of an alkali works, much care is 
needed to prevent the emission of smoke; 
the Committee believe, however, that this 
may be done by a due admission of air at 
suitable places. There are also cases where 
a high degree of heat is required, and where 
a reducing atmosphere must be maintained 
in the furnace. This is the case in puddling 
furnaces, and in the re-heating furnaces of 
iron rolling mills. In these it has been 
thought impossible to avoid the emission 
of smoke, since, unless an excess of car- 
bonaceous matter is present in the air of 
the furnace, much iron is burnt away. It 
is found, however, that the flame of a gas 
furnace fulfils the necessary condition. This 
is largely composed of carbon monoxide, 
which, while keeping up a reducing action 
in the fiimace, burns without smoke. 

" Almost the last work of their engineer, Mr. 
Pamell, before his death, was a visit to the 
iron and steel works in the neighbourhood of 
Glasgow, August 1890, where he reports that 
he saw, at the Father Company's Works at 
Wishaw, a gas-fired puddling furnace on the 
Siemens and Head principle, of which he was 


informed by the management that the re- 
sults were in every way satisfactory; and 
the economies — compared with coal-fired 
furnaces — were as follows : Work done, 30 per 
cent, increase; loss of metal, 50 per cent, less ; 
fuel used, 64 per cent, less ; coal used per ton 
of iron made, including lightmg up, 6 cwts. 
o qrs. 22 lbs., against 23 cwts. 3 qrs. 9 lbs.; 
fettling, 40 per cent, less; repairs, 60 per 
cent. less. 

"The coal-fired furnaces were constantly 
pouring out dense columns of black smoke, 
whereas, with the new furnaces, during a visit 
of five hours, hardly a trace of smoke was 
discernible. At the Wishaw works of the 
Glasgow Iron and Steel Company was found 
a large heating fiimace of steel ingots, with a 
bed measuring 30 ft. by 8 ft. internal, and seven 
doors. The furnace was heating 80 tons of 
blooms, 5 in. to 8 m. square, per shift, with 
70 cwt. of fuel. Compared with grate fur- 
naces, this showed a saving in fuel of 75 per 
cent. The furnace had a separate chimney, 
and showed no sign of smoke during a yish 
of about two hours. Arrangements were 
being made to fire some of the steam boilers 
by the gases from the producers. On this 
system a portion oi the waste gases is re- 
turned to the gas-producer, and cannot be 


used for steam boilers, so that the economies 
claimed have to be discounted in respect of 
this circumstance. 

*' Messrs. Nettlefolds, of Birmingham, re- 
pUed to our inquiries as to their use of the 
Siemens gas puddling furnaces (old form) : 
'We have never used any other kind, and 
therefore cannot give you any particulars as to 
the cost of changing from one system to the 
other. The gas is under complete control, 
and the smoke can be avoided entirely, except 
in case of delay or mishap making it neces- 
sary to keep the balls in the furnace, when, 
of course, a smothering flame is used to avoid 
waste. A great deal, however, depends on 
the puddlers, and they can make a good deal 
of smoke if they like. We always make less 
smoke than our neighbours, and we always 
considered that these (gas) puddling furnaces 
were more economical than those in ordinary 

" Since that time the new form of Siemens 
furnace has become of great value to manu- 
facturers of iron and steel, and its adoption 
in connection with the glassmaking and other 
industries is very extensive. The chief point 
of interest, however, to the Committee lies in 
the fact that the furnace is an appliance 
capable of working with a minimum of smoke 


emission, and at the same time showing a 
great economy in fuel over the cruder 
methods of working. 

''The Lancashire and Yorkshire Bailway 
Works at Horwich afford an instance of 
smokeless steehnaking from pig iron, and its 
subsequent manufacture. The gas from the 
steelmaking and heating furnaces is suppUed 
by Wilson gas-producers." 

Branch committees in other towns worked 
along with the Manchester Committee. The 
Glasgow Beport concludes: ''Enough is 
known at present to enable steam users to 
work their boUers with a fair degree of 
economy and practically without smoke." 
The Sheffield investigators say that " smoke 
may be almost entirely prevented from steam 
boiler chimneys." The General Beport con- 
eludes in its ligest print : « A manXcturing 
district may be free from manufacturing 
smoke from steam boilers." Also : " The addi- 
tion of suitable gear for combating the smoke 
nuisance results invariably in a gain to the 

These are weighty words by the men who, 
of all men in England, have the best right to 
give a judgment. 

Firemen are naturally severe critics of these 
devices, which place their craft in danger 


I have asked them what they thought of 
them for that reason. Their replies are im- 
intended compliments. Either the heat they 
produce is so great as to melt the bars, or to 
prevent the fireman approaching the fire, or 
they tempt the masters to use too cheap 
coal, as the mechanical stokers can deal with 
very common fuel. 

There is a great weight of testimony to the 
effect that nearly all the smoke can be got 
rid of, with an actual saving; but that to 
attain absolute smokelessness may in some 
cases be an expense, as most sorts of perfection 
are. Doubtless we should become another 
race in another country if nine-tenths of our 
smoke were removed ; but I think the State 
has the right to claim perfect cleanliness, 
whilst thankful that the principal part of the 
abatement only needs thought and care, and 
the remunerative investment of capital. 

The question of the economy due to the 
complete combustion of fuel by mechanical 
stokers is important. It is, when all sources 
of economy are included, very great. 

The actual calorific value of the im- 
bumt carbon monoxide and hydro-carbons 
which come out of a smoky chimney is 
not so large as one might suppose. It is 
not more than about 4 per cent, of the 


calorific value of the coal.^ But there are 
other losses, due to imperfect combustion or 
wasteful ways of firing. There may be an 
enormous loss, due to free heat wasted in 
the chimney gases, or due to an excess of 
cold air at the furnace door, or to the radia- 
tion and conduction from boilers or from hot 
ashes, due to the boilers being badly set. To 
obtain over 70 per cent, of theoretical effici- 
ency in a boiler is to be extremely successful. 
The engine can only turn about one-fifth of 
this into mechanical energy. Most of the 
rest goes in the exhaust steam. 

To speak of a final 14 per cent, of 
efficiency is to speak of good plant imder 
good management. Most actual steam 
plants, particularly small ones and old 
ones, do far less than this — ^indeed, almost 
indefinitely less. Mr. Beilby, formerly 
President of the Society of Chemical In- 
dustry, stated to the Royal Commission that 
the average efficiency is believed to be under 
4 per cent., or less than a hundredweight's 
heat out of a ton of coal. It is about what 
a good kitchen range gives. Some of this 
loss is inevitable, but clearly there is vast 
room for improvement. 

^ Chief Engineer, Hamburg Smoke Prevention Society, 


The late Mr. E. Hart stated that the waste 
due to unperfect methods of firing in London 
is 42 per cent, of the whole. The Royal Com- 
mission state that over the whole country 
33 per cent, was wasted by bad firing.^ 

No generalisation is much use where the 
uses of heat and the circumstances of its pro- 
duction differ so widely. It is safe to say 
that the chronic making of black smoke 
through forcing boilers is a transgression 
against the public. Every one ought to 
provide enough boiler power for his busi- 
ness. The clses of ocLional and inter- 
mittent forcing are more difficult to deal 
with. In these cases the chimney gases may 
be washed, or the resources of forced draught 
exploited, or superheated air be introduced 
at the back or front of the jGire. If the law 
were effective, ways would be found over 
this difficulty. At present the convenience 
of the manufacturer is the first thing con- 
sidered, and the public health and happiness 
give way to it. 

Among the neatest and most efficient 
methods I have seen of producing great 
heat is that of the Schwartzkopf Syndicate 
at Haydock, near St. Helens. Their apparatus 
burns powdered coal-dust. The fine particles 

* Vol. iii. p. II. 


are whisked into a hot brick chamber, and 
burnt completely at once as they float in the 
air. There is no waste and little dust; all 
the heat is utilised, the finely-divided fuel 
being exposed to very hot air all round it. It 
is delay in the process of combustion which 
produces all smoke. The apparatus required 
is small and very pretty, but a large brick 
chamber is required, in which combustion 
takes place. This process has a special service 
where very high temperatures are needed, as 
in all that furnace work, such as puddling, 
welding, and other metallurgical processes, 
which now cause the outpouring of smoke, 
declared to be particularly inevitable in 
each special case. The effect of fine sub- 
division is famiUar to the gardener, the 
chemist, and the doctor. Of course the 
coal has to be previously ground, for which 
the Syndicate sells machines. Every kind 
of common dirty coal rubbish and slack can 
be used ; the smaller the better, indeed. Slack 
costs tenpence a ton to prepare, small coal 
a little more. In the coal districts slack can 
be bought at four shillings a ton, and is not 
in great demand. The firm is at present 
selling powdered coal to its customers, de. 
livered in Manchester at eight shillings per 
ton. This is not, however, intended to be 


a permanent arrangement. It is about the 
price the owners of furnaces generaUy give 
for ordinary coal. I saw the apparatus at 
work annealing at the works of Richard 
Johnson & Nephew, Bradford Iron Works, 
Manchester. Mr. Turnbull, the manager, told 
me that when in continual use at its maxi- 
mum eflSciency it cost half as much as ordinary 
furnace firing. Three hundredweight of coal 
anneal certain wire where it used to take 
eight hundredweight, but there is some 
waste time when the furnace is empty. This 
apparatus obtained a bronze medal at the 
Smoke Prevention Exhibition organised by 
the Royal Sanitary Institute and Coal Smoke 
Abatement Society in 1905. 

One great advantage of the system in large 
works is that it will use up the impracticable 
dust left by the other boiler fires. Thus we 
obtain one more much needed economy in 

The Incandescent Heat Company, 24 Cole- 
man Street, E.C., have just brought out a 
patent furnace (Smallwood's Patents) for 
annealing, but adaptable for all industrial 
purposes. It is too recent to have much 
more than high hopes to offer. It claims 
to be clean, economical, and, after the first 
hour or two, smokeless. I have a test 


result before me in which a continuous close 
annealing furnace was fed for a week with 
three-quarters of a hundredweight per hour 
of coal, more than half slack, and maintained 
at a steady temperature of looo** C. Its size 
was 56 square feet, with a grate area of 7.5 
square feet. 

I shall go on to speak of gas engines in 
the next chapter. But, in spite of their great 
economy, there is doubtless a future also for 
steam. Nothing goes so smoothly and causes 
so little wear and tear as a steam engine, 
with the new lubricating oils, which are 
forced under pressure upon the bearings. 
The efficiency figure, whether mechanical 
or thermal, is only part of the question. 
The actual fiiel bill is a smaller part of 
the cost of power than one would think. 
I have before me a sheet of figures giving 
the experience of a firm who run Mond 
gas engines, which give one brake H.P. per 
hour for a total cost of three farthings (or 
one B.T.U. for a penny). But 55 per cent, 
of the cost is depreciation of machinery at 
10 per cent, and of buildings at 7^ per 
cent, and additions; 9 per cent, is for re- 
pairs and renewals. The actual fuel in 
coal and oil is only responsible for 18 per 
cent, of the total cost. I conclude that 


we shall be likely to need for some time 
mechanical means for curing smoke in steam 

A new boiler with great claims has just 
been invented at St. Petersburg by a Russian 
named Schmidt, and tested at Creighton's 
works, but no verification of its high hopes 
is yet to hand. 

Charles H. Benjamin, in a paper read before 
the American Society of Mechanical Engi- 
neers and published in the A merioan Machinist , 
Oct. 20, 1906, states that smoke abatement 
is easy and profitable to the owner of the 
plant, but absolute prevention, with soft coal, 
is impossible. The bituminous soft coal of 
America is softer and smokier than ours. 
Still he would probably recognise how practi- 
cable it is to cure most of our smoke — but 
that it may cost in a few cases a little to 
make a perfect cure. 

A more definitely English opinion of great 
authority is that of Mr. A. £. Fletcher, late 
Chief Inspector under the Alkali Acts, who 
included a statement about Smoke in his 
report for 1892 to the Local Government 
Board. He says : — 

''In the case of a hand-fed furnace the 
supply of fuel is intermittent, while the 
supply of aur is constant. Clearly, therefore. 


the necessary proportion between the two 
cannot alwiays be maintained. The dis- 
proportion is also the more aggravated by 
the bulk of the gases intermittently thrown 
off. When fresh coal is thrown on a bright 
and fierce fire the sudden burst of combustible 
gases chokes the flue, and in a measure 
checks the draught, diminiahing the supply 
of air at the very time when it is most 

" This obviously points to the necessity of 
a constant supply of fuel, which can only be 
accomplished by mechanical means unless 
that fuel is gaseous. 

'' It may with confidence be asserted that 
consumers of coal in almost all kinds of 
furnaces have it now in their power to con- 
form with the requirements of the Public 
Health Act, and prevent the discharge of 
black smoke from their chimneys. As a 
proof of this, one prominent instance can be 
mentioned of a large chemical works, where 
may be seen a row of fifty large Lancashire 
boilers, each with two furnaces, and an equal 
number of furnaces applied to other purposes 
than that of raising steam, making in all as 
many as two hundred fires. Till lately, a row 
of four chimneys poured out a mass of black 
smoke, which shrouded the whole district in 


its pall; now they are smokeless as far as 
colour is concerned, and only fully burnt 
colourless gases are sent into the air.^ The 
question as to the economic use of the coal 
was narrowly examined, and I am assured 
that a substantial saving of about lo per cent, 
has been effected." 

1 These are donbtless Bronner Mond's works, alluded 
to on p. 8i. 



The Royal Commission on Coal Supplies 
states in its final report (vol. iii. p. 14), that: — 
''Gas engines are now established as the 
most economical of heat motors, and it is said 
that if the average steam engine and boiler 
installation of to-day, with its average con- 
sumption of 5 lbs. of coal per H.P. hour, 
were entirely replaced by gas producers 
and gas engines the 53,000,000 tons of coal, 
which it is estimated by Mr. Beilby are con- 
sumed for power purposes at mines and 
factories, would be reduced to 11,000,000 
tons. The possibility of this enormous 
economy seems to be established by the 
results of many trials by which it is proved 
that power can be generated by gas engines 
in almost any locality and on almost any 
scale with the consumption of i lb. of 
average slack per indicated H.P. per 

hour. The general introduction of gas 



engines and the use of producer gas could 
not, therefore, fail to have an important effect 
upon our coal consumption. 

"At the time when gas engines were re- 
stricted to the use of ordinary illuminating 
gas, the conditions under which they could 
be used were greatly limited, but even then 
considerable advances were made. The next 
step was the successful application of fuel 
gas made from coke or anthracite to the 
ordinary gas engine ; but little real progress 
was made imtil the successful application of 
producer gas made from ordinary bituminous 
slack. Even now it cannot be said that the 
gas engine has reached its final stage of 
perfection, and there appears still to remain 
a large field for the attainment of increased 
efficiency both thermally and mechanically. 

"According to the witnesses much economy 
of fuel results from the use of producer gas 
plants, but this depends on several conditions, 
especially their size and their load factor. 
The fullest economy is obtained in large 
plants of 4CXX) H.P. and upwards with 
recovery of bye-products, in which case the 
cost of the coal is balanced by the value of 
the bye-products: without recovery of the 
bye-products it does not pay to put down 
plant for bituminous coal of less than, say, 


icx) H.P. On the Continent small anthra- 
cite plants are put down of lo H.P., and 
in this country some are in use of 20 H.P. 
Up to at least 100 H.P. anthracite or coke 
plants are the most economical, but as to 
plants beyond 100 H.P. the opinions of 
witnesses differ, some preferring anthracite 
plants up to 250 H.P." 

The great economy of gas is due to the fact 
that the energy of expansion is produced 
by burning the fuel right in the cylinder, 
without passing through the long and 
wasteful process of evaporating water and 
using the pressure of the steam. Very 
good steam engines use 2 lbs. of coal per 
H.P. hour. 

Gas engines are now being made of larger 
and larger size, with no serious limit, and 
the old di£Sculty of starting them has been 
met. Suction producer gas plants are rapidly 
winning their way. Messrs. Crossley state 
that by putting | lb. of anthracite, costing 
less than ^nr of a penny per hr., into the gene- 
rator you obtain one actual H.P. This is 
the cheapest form of power known. Tangyes 
make analogous claims. Tou can also use 
coke at i lb. per hr. for one brake H.P. under 
favourable test conditions. The makers of 
suction plant give their customers an actual 



guarantee of one indicated H.F. for one-tenth 
of a penny per hour for fuel 

Nor ought we to ignore oil engines. The 
Diesel oil engine gives a thermal efficiency of 
35 per cent., about the same as a very good 
gas engine. 

The capital cost of boiler and steam engine 
is, speaking generally and roughly, about the 
same as that of gas plant and gas engine. 
But the latter, as we have seen, produces on 
the average five times the power from a given 
quantity of coal, from its higher thermal 

The question of gas is one of the most 
important and hopeful we can consider, both 
for power and for domestic use. Instead 
of carrying raw coal into trucks and out of 
them, along railways and roads, into cellars 
and out of them, with great labour, dirt, and 
waste at every point in its transfer, till the 
housemaid deposits it in a coal scuttle and 
its smoke appears above our roofs, the gas 
manufacturer turns it into gas, coke, tar, and 
sulphate of ammonia, and obtains for these 
all together three times the original value of 
the coal. Neither gas nor coke make smoke ; 
tar makes dyes and many wonderful and 
beautiful things now made in Germany ; and 
sulphate of ammonia is a valuable manure, 


which ultimately makes bread. When made 
from slack, its price, which is very variable, 
may be somewhere about three-quarters that 
of the coal from which it is produced. Its 
average price may be put at about ;^i2, los. 
per ton. 

Gas, it is true, only retains about a quarter 
of the calorific power of the coal from which 
it is made, but it uses far more efficiently 
what it has. Tou turn it on and off when 
wanted, saving domestic labour in its most 
unattractive shape. But at the price charged 
for gas in most places, gas stoves and gas 
cookers are generally considered economical 
only where they are used occasionally, and 
are turned off when not wanted. It appears, 
however, generally agreed that gas at is. 6d. 
to 2s. per icxx) cubic feet can compete 
economically all day long with coaL The 
cost of fuel at the twenty-five Metropolitan 
electric light undertakings was found equal to 
gas at 2s. id. per looo cubic feet. 

The South Metropolitan Gas Company, one 
of the premier companies in the kingdom, 
sells gas of 14 (a rather low) candle power, 
at 2s., and pays 5| per cent, on a capital, the 
origmal shares of which have been written 
up to a value much higher than they cost. 
The return on all the real capital used as 



shares, debentures, or premiums, is nearly 7h 
per cent. If a town were working the business 
with the need to make 4 per cent, for interest 
and sinking fund on fresh capital used in the 
best ways now available, this price could be 
reduced to is. 9d. If coal carriage to London 
costs roughly about 5 s. 6d. per ton by sea, 
and a ton in the works of that Company 
makes i i,cxx) feet of gas (io,cxx) is the usual 
figure allowed), this gives about 6d. per icxx) 
feet for carriage, and reduces gas made at 
the coalfields to is. 3d. Some allowance 
would have to be added to this on account 
of coke being cheaper also. But this ap- 
proaches the price at Widnes, Lancashire, 
where Mr. Isaac Carr, the manager there, can 
sell good 17 candle-power gas for is. 3d. to 
ordinary consumers, with a reduction on quan- 
tity, and at no more than 11 d. for power. This, 
the lowest of all municipal figures, is reached 
in spite of the payment of ijd. per 1000 
feet to the relief of rates — an utterly inde- 
fensible plan, particularly in a smoky place 
like Widnes. Sheffield has also the very low 
rate of is. 4d. per 1000, with a reduction on 
quantity, and is. for power. At these places 
they have an excellent market for coke, and 
so make on residuals about lod. per 1000 
feet of gas. There seems to be no reason 


why, at all places near coalfields, that is, 
over all the smokiest part of England, gas 
could not be sold at a little more than is. 6d. 
per locx) cubic feet, or from that to 2s. where 
residuals have to go cheap. 

A bold plan for supplying London with 
light, heat, and power by gas made at the 
pits' mouth, and transported in mains under 
500 lbs. pressure per square inch, has been 
put forward by Mr. Arthur J. Martin in three 
papers,! to which I am indebted for many facts 
about gas. I give no opinion on the scheme, 
but if the diflSculty of leakage can be over- 
come, there seems no other obstacle in the 
way of delivering gas in London for all 
purposes at is. or less per 1000 cubic feet. 
The actual cost of compression and trans- 
mission is worked out by Mr. Martin at 
from |d. to i^d. per locx). It is here that the 
economy comes in, for, if one thinks about it, 
it is a surprisingly cumbrous process to haul 
raw coal all over England — dirty, heavy, 
wasteful — when it might be transformed 
into four useful products at the pits' mouth, 
and thence more easily carried to where they 
are wanted. 

* JoumcU of Society of Arts, March 30, 1906 ; Proe, 
British Assoc,, 1906 ; and pamphlet on *' How to Prevent 
Smoky Fogs" (Sanitary Publishing Company, 5 Fetter 
Lane, B.O.). 


This gas might be made from the slack 
and waste coal every year piled up round 
the pits' mouths or left in the workings, 
which is worth too little to bear the cost 
of removal. Every year, Mr. Martin believes, 
twice as much coal as the county of London 
uses is wasted in this primitive way, brought 
to the surface and left there. At the collieries 
also would naturally be concentrated the sub- 
sidiary industries connected with tar. If water 
gas were made by the exhaust steam from the 
compressor engines, and if, in the same neigh- 
bourhoods where coke is made, instead of the 
incredibly wasteful bee-hive coke ovens still 
in common use, bye-product ovens were 
used to collect the gases, precious for use 
and noxious when wasted, there would be 
a source of light or of power available for 
manufacturing purposes. Thus by the co- 
ordination of all the coal-consuming businesses 
near the collieries, utilising the waste of one 
business as material for the next, a powerful 
chain of economies can be set up. Many 
authorities prefer a central situation, acces- 
sible from several collieries, to a location close 
by one. 

The plan of making power and distributing 
it over large areas, either as electrical energy 
or as power gas, is already one of our 


established novelties. The large stations 
are more easily kept smokeless than a 
multitude of small plants; and this may 
be the chief method by which our air may 
be finally restored to us. Curiously enough, 
it was anticipated by Ruskin in a brief 
allusion a long generation ago. The Lanca- 
shire Electric Power Company is one of these 
distributing companies, and one of its cus- 
tomers is the Acme Spinning Mill at Pendle- 
bury, which is worked wholly by electricity. 
The experiment is too recent to estimate 
its economic value as yet, but it may be 
the herald of revolutionary changes. SimUar 
powers have been obtained by companies in 
Flintshire and East Denbigh, in South Wales, 
in the Durham and Newcastle district, in the 
Clyde valley, in Derby and Notts, in Staflford- 
shire, in Belfast, and the West Riding of 
Yorkshire. The present difficulties of the 
South Staffordshire Mond Gas Company 
seem to be of a commercial, rather than 
of a scientific or manufacturing, character. 
The undertaking in West Cumberland is 
wisely arranging to utilise the waste gases 
from the blast furnaces, and expects to 
purify them and make a power gas, either 
for direct use or for driving dynamos. The 
cost of power will, they hope, be 15 s. 


per H.P. per annum, or one-third the cost 
of power at Niagara. That is a mere pro- 
phecy at present. The Royal Commissioners 
were much impressed by the economy made 
by utilising blast furnace waste eases for 
piwer, with or without electricity They 
state that lo H.P. is wasted in gases for 
every ton of pig iron made.^ The plan 
succeeds in Belgium and Germany. 

There are many testimonies to the 
economy of electrical power. Vickers, Son 
and Maxim at Barrow save lo per cent, on 
their coal bill thereby, and at the same 
time gain 40 per cent, of power. In the 
Denaby and Cadeby Collieries two boilers 
suflSce for what formerly took six. Messrs. 
Crossley say that one unit of electricity can 
be produced for a fuel cost of Jd. per hour 
with town's gas at 2s., or for Jd. an hour with 
suction gas, with coal at 25 s. per ton. 

There is a difference of opinion among 
gas experts as to whether ordinary gas 
cheaply made, with a low light power, has a 
correspondingly low heat power. Most of 
the authorities, led by Sir George Livesey, 
think that cheaper gas, with a low candle 
power, is more economical as a heat pro- 
ducer. Mr. Carr of Widnes takes the other 

* Boyal Commission Report ^ vol. ii. pp. 13, 14. 


view, thinking that the heat varies with the 
light. Mr. Newbigging, the Gas Engineer of 
the corporation of Manchester, believes that, 
within certain limits of candle power, there 
is not much in it either way, from the point 
of view of cost of heat. I .have neither space 
nor knowledge nor wish to adjudge the prize 
among the competing qualities of gas — enough 
to know that there is a choice of cheap and 
smokeless heat-producers in the various forms 
of gas. It is all a question of price. It is 
stated by good authorities that Mond gas at 
4d. is as cheap as illuminating gas of moderate 
candle power at is. sd. The South Stafford- 
shire Mond Gas Company at Dudley Port 
sells gas at 2^d. to 4d. per locx), accord- 
mg to quantity. The evidence before the 
Royal Commission was, that where the Mond 
gas is made on a scale large enough to 
recover sulphate of ammonia profitably, it 
costs half as much as coal. The strongest 
point in favour of Mond gas is that it yields 
four times as much sulphate of ammonia per 
ton of coal as ordinary gas does. But it is 
stated not to pay to recover this, except on 
a large scale. These various gases are all 
our very good friends, and it would be well 
if they could all be sold by corporations at a 
little below cost, for reasons of justice stated 


in Chap. IV. Moreover, the very fact of 
cheapening the gas would increase the de- 
mand, diminish cost thereby, and swamp 
some or all of the loss. For you have your 
rent, your plant, your management to pay 
for on a smaller or a larger output. More- 
over, the extra demand induced for power or 
for cooking is a summer demand, no less than 
a winter one, and it is a daylight demand. It 
just comes when the demand for light is not 
straining the resources of the works, and so 
would most economically fill up slack times. 
Herein often lies the secret of profit. 

Further, if pipe lines of power, whether 
gas or electrical, intersected England, in- 
stead of railways carrying long trains of 
coal trucks, the pipe line could be tapped 
anywhere, decentralisation of industries 
would be assisted, and Garden Cities pro- 

The smoke made in the aggregate by 
locomotives is a serious addition to our 
dirt. A locomotive uses 3J tons of coal 
per day on an average, and scatters the 
smoke of 36 lbs. of coal over every mile 
on fast trains. Their furnaces are primitive^ 
and do not attempt complete combustion. 
Some such device as that in hand by Mr. 
Brunner, 7 Mosley Street, Manchester, which 


introduces a hot blast at the front of the 
fire, might be used. Or Mr. Martin's idea 
of carrying in the space now used by the 
boiler enough compressed gas to carry one 
hundred miles would cure it. And if gas 
were made at the collieries fewer trains 
would run. 

Of all forms of heating, pottery ovens 
are, one would suppose, most in need of 
that efficient control of temperature, that 
uniform distribution of it, and that clean- 
liness in firing, which gas provides. They 
are also, in the common wasteful form of 
coal burning, among the smokiest of our 
nuisances. The potteries make a blot of 
blackness in the north comer of Stafford- 
shire, and the roughness of their grimy 
population now and again comes pro- 
minently before the public. Mr. W. F. 
Murray (Todhills by Stevenston, N.B.) has 
spent many active years and much money 
in experiments on a large scale with ovens 
heated by gas, which have been crowned 
with success. His paper on "The Pottery 
Oven of the Future" is in the Troma- 
actions of the English Cera/mAc Society, 
vol. vi., 1906-7, and is reprinted by 
Hughes & Harber, Longton, Staffs. It is 
fiill of technical detail, and is well worth 


study by any potter. It tells of enormous 
economies realised in fuel, in wear and tear, 
in diminution of breakages and spoilt goods. 
Gas is quicker in operation and easier to 
manage by firemen than is coal ; and there 
are no insuperable obstacles to converting 
the existing ovens. At Messrs. Meakins' 
works at Tunstall gas has been successfully 
installed. At Glenboig for twenty years 
bricks have been successfully fired by gas. 
Everyone in the business seems to antici- 
pate that this method of firing is sure to 
come. A drastic smoke law in the Potteries 
would henceforth be entirely just, and would 
save both the money and the atmosphere of 
that now dreadful district. 

Gas is not a substance which, at first 
sight, would rouse one to missionary zeal 
or a whole-hearted enthusiasm ; but I have 
come to look upon its modest flame with 
great respect. It means organised science 
applied to industry for the benefit of civili- 
sation — it stands for economy and clean- 
liness, instead of smoke, coal dust, and 
barbaric waste. 



It is not uninstructiye that three firms, 
noted aU over the industrial world for 
their many agencies for the betterment of 
their workpeople, have all taken special 
measures to make their works free from 
smoke. They have shown a noble and 
enlightened example, and we hope are the 
forerunners of many imitators. I allude 
to Cadbury Brothers at Boumville, Bir- 
mingham; Bowntree & Co., at York; and 
Joseph Crosfield & Sons, at Warrington. 
Two of these firms have built model 
villages, and there can be no model village 
under a smoking factory chminey. Let us 
hope that the clear air which is preserved 
by these pioneer firms may be recognised 
generally as part of the demand of that 
new and wider industrial morality which 
they have initiated. Let me detail their 
experience for the instruction in it. 



Messrs. Cadbury Brothers have in their 
works Mond Gas, Yicars's stokers, and 
hand-firing. They incline to extend by 
installing the newest steam plant. Their 
chimneys are perfectly smokeless, the firm 
being determined to make no smoke in 
Boumville at any cost. They do not claim 
as yet that it is economical to do this from 
a purely fuel point of view. It costs some- 
thing. Their hand-firing is smokeless only 
by aUowing an excess of air ; and they are 
not obliged to strain their boiler i^wer. 
Their boilers are so scattered — being set up 
as the works have grown — that mechanical 
stokers do not save them much labour. 
They believe that their hollow fire-bars, 
though smokeless, let in rather too much 
air. Their Mond gas plant would be more 
economical if they collected the sulphate 
of ammonia; but this is said by some 
authorities not to be remunerative when 
done with less than 3000 H.P. plant. They 
find that 2 lbs. of coal produce one brake 
H.P. with their Mond gas plant. They hope 
ultimately to be smokeless and economicial 

Messrs. Rowntree had a difficult problem. 
Their boilers are fitted with Bennis com- 
pressed air and sprinkling stokers. These 


are quite efficient, but under their circum- 
stances they find it best to work their 
boilers as hard as possible, burning coal at 
an average rate of 32 lbs. per square foot of 
grate area per hour. The coal used is the 
cheapest grade of Yorkshire pea-slack, and 
contains a very large percentage of dust. 
In spite of the poor quality of the coal, the 
mechanical stokers have reduced the amount 
of smoke very considerably, but, owing to the 
dusty nature of the fuel and the high draught 
which has to be maintained, a quantity of 
small shaly particles left the chimney-top. 
This grit constituted more of a nuisance than 
the comparatively small amount of carbon- 
aceous smoke which remained in the gases. 
In order to remove it they have built a large 
chamber through which the gases pass. Here 
all the grit and a large part of the sulphur 
compounds are washed out. Including in- 
terest on capital, this only adds about 10 per 
cent, to the cost of the coal, but a large supply 
of water is needed. It is hoped that by carry- 
ing the experiment further the volume of 
water may be reduced and the gases still 
further cleansed.^ 

^ Bee the paper read before the British Association at 
York in 1906, by 8. H. Davies, M.Sc., the chemist, and 
F. G. Fryer, A.M.I.M.E., the engineer of the firm. 


The flue gases at the '' down-take " of the 
boiler contain from 1 2 to 1 5 per cent, of CO, 
— an excellent figure. About gcxx) lbs, of 
water are evaporated per boiler per hour. 
With coal of a calorific value of 12,500 
B.T.U.'s, and allowing for the additional 
energy value of steam superheated to 520° 
F., they evaporate 10.45 lbs. of water per 
lb. of coal "from and at 210° F." under test 
conditions, or 9.06 lbs. under average workiTig 
conditions. The final and most valuable 
figure is that of cost. In 1906^ with coal 
at 6s. 2d., the cost of evaporating 1000 gal- 
lons of water and superheating the steam 
was 3s. 4d. in coal. Notwithstanding the 
high efficiency of their steam plant, and 
consequent low evaporation costs, they have 
found it more economical, in extending their 
plant, to adopt gas producers and generate 
power in large gas engines. Owing largely 
to the superior efficiency of the gas engine 
over the steam engine, there is a striking 
economy effected in the coal bill; with the 
gas plant only ij lbs. of coal is consumed 
per B.H.P., whereas with the steam plant 
from 2j to 3j lbs. is required. 

Crosfields' do not work their boilers so 
hard as Rowntrees'. They have a row of 
twenty-three boilers fitted with Vicars's 


coking stokers. They only use 20 lbs. of 
coal per square foot of grate area. They 
achieve smokelessness nearly all the time, 
and save a thousand tons of coal per week, 
or £2$fiOO a year, compared with their un- 
regenerate days. This sum includes econo- 
mies on labour and in prolonging the lives 
of boilers. They lay emphasis on the ne- 
cessity for a chemical staff to attend to 
fiiei matters. They have received so many 
inquiries that they have established a pro- 
fessional department which will advise manu- 
facturers who wish to abolish smoke and 
economise fiiel, and will set up plant 
suitable for each situation.^ Their case may 
be taken as a normal one where a steady 
demand for steam is made. Their figures 
are : — Coal at 6s. 3d. per ton ; 9^ to 10 lbs. 
of water are evaporated, " from and at 2 1 2°," 
per lb. of coal with a calorific value of 
ii,7CXD B.T.U.'s; 7200 lbs. of water are 
evaporated per hour per boiler; and the 
percentage of CO, in the chimney is about 
14. They take the hardness out of the 
water before using it, and send it in clean, 
which saves the boilers. After twelve years' 

^ The Fael-Saving and Water-Treating Co., 2 Booth 
Street, Albert Square, Manchester. 



work the inspectors of the National Boiler 
Insurance Association report a total depre- 
ciation of only 10 per cent. They believe 
they treble the ordinary life of a boiler. The 
boilers are worked night and day, and the 
upkeep amounts to 5s. per boiler per week. 
Gases leave the chimney at about 400° F. 
The perfect combustion of 12 tons of air with 
I ton of Lancashire coal would give 17 per 
cent, of CO2 in the chimney ; but it is impos- 
sible to reach this standard and maintain 
sufficient draught. Eight per cent, of COj 
is a very usual figure. This results from 
burning i ton of coal and 28 tons of 
air. Steam jets carefully placed play on 
the bars underneath to prevent them burn- 
ing. They have a special way of setting 
their boilers so that the gases travel the 
length of the boiler three times, and then 
through the superheating chamber twice 
before they pass up the chimney. 

A very complete and successful system of 
smoke prevention is in use at the mills of 
Messrs. Fothergill & Harvey, at Littleborough, 
near Rochdale, installed by Mr. G. C. Storie 
of Rochdale as engineer. It consists of the 
Auto Coking Stoker, made by the Union Iron 
Co. of Ashton-under-Lyne ; a fan giving an 
induced draught; and the hot-blast system 


of Ellis & Eaves, made by Davy Brothers, 
Sheffield. The cold air enters among a stack 
of small pipes, in the inside of which are the 
chimney gases on their way from the boiler. 
The air is conveyed by two large tubes to the 
front of the fires, and enters below the fire- 
bars at a temperature of 300"* F, This gives 
a perfectly clean chimney when in working 
order ; and, of course, heat is saved £rom the 
waste gases, which are reduced, on the 
average, to a temperature of 295*" F. at the 
base of the chimney. The boilers are hard- 
worked; 27 lbs. of coal per square foot of grate 
area are burnt, yet the four chimneys of the 
firm, once very smoky, now show an excellent 
example of smokelessness to a moorland 
district which might be very beautiful. One 
of these chimneys is from dye-works boilers. 
Here sudden irregular calls for steam are made. 
Magistrates are apt to accept the plea of 
necessity from dyers ; but here there is never 
any smoke with the Auto stokers and the 
fan, except for a minute when the cinders 
are being removed. The fires never need 
poking. The hot blast is not installed to 
these boilers. I saw one of the firm's chim- 
neys when there was no fan in use ; a very 
small amoimt of smoke was then made for 
a short time at intervals, showing that the 


mechanical stoker alone is a cure for most, 
but not quite all our smoke. 

These examples show that in ordinary cases 
like Crosfields', practical smokelessness and 
economy can be achieved together by a com- 
bination of intelligence and goodwill; and 
that in a difficult case like Bowntrees', the 
same efforts produce a great abatement of 
smoke, and, at a moderate additional expense, 
perfect smokelessness. 

Robert H. Buckley & Sons, cotton spinners, 
Mossley, Lancashire, use auto-stokers, which 
are practically smokeless, and save each year 
lo per cent, of their cost. Mr. Fletcher, Paper 
Mills, Stoneclough, Kearsley, Lancashire, has 
a successful and very economical method of 
his own, which he is willing to show freely. 

These are only a few typical cases; and 
the list, I am aware, might be very much 
increased, of firms who have overcome, or are 
overcoming, the smoke difficulty. They show 
that it can be achieved, but that it is a delicate 
matter, and its achievement something of a 



The law is full of irregularity and of loop- 
holes. The Public Health Act of 1875 
legislates with the utmost correctness against 
smoky chimneys, but inserts words about 
consuming smoke ''as far as practicable/' 
which, in practice, nullify to a large extent 
the effectiveness of the clause for obtaining 
convictions. If, as we believe, there is no 
necessity for manufacturing smoke if proper 
appliances are properly used, the words 
should be left out. It is usual for the pro- 
secution to abandon this section as useless 
and to fall back upon another sub-section, 
which speaks of " any chimney (not being 
the chimney of a private dwelling-house) 
sending forth black smoke in such quantity 
as to be a nuisance." There are two loop- 
holes here. In daylight no smoke looks 
absolutely and truly black, and it is left to 
the judgment of a sympathetic magistrate 

118 THE LAW 

to say whether the particular smoke is 
l^ally ''black"; the most objectionable 
smoke need not be nearly black. Then the 
word " nuisance " is open to loose interpreta- 
tion also. It is suggested that the clause 
should nm *' black smoke or smoke in such 
quantity as to be a nuisance." " Any person 
aggrieved or any two inhabitant house- 
holders" can give information of a nuisance 
to the local authority; and any individual 
who is not satisfied with the action of the 
local authority can try to convince the Local 
Government Board that this neglect exists. 
Many municipalities work under private Acts 
of their own, either made to suit the manu- 
facturers, or drastic like those of Notting- 
ham, the city of clean lace, where there are 
no phrases about " as far as practicable," and 
where the stoker, instead of the manufacturer, 
may be fined if the smoke is his fault, as 
is done under the Alkali Acts. Five minutes 
smoke per day is allowed at Nottingham. 
The law should be unified, and perhaps some 
attempt at the imposition of a uniform time 
limit for smoke may be made. We have no 
such limit in the general Public Health Act, 
and the authorities make one for themselves, 
varying from two minutes per half-hour in 
Manchester to fifteen minutes per hour at 


Middlesborough. Many, however, think it 
dangerous for the law to sanction a time at 
all. The penalties also vary irrationally and 
unfairly from place to place. 

More use should be made of the powers 
which exist to order the compulsory in- 
stallation of smoke prevention appliances. 
This implies competent advisers in the 
Pubhc Health Departments; and there is 
no reason why the State should not give 
sympathetic gratuitous advice and guidance 
to a smoke-producing manufacturer of good 

This brings us to the largest question of 
all. It is plain that, as a whole, our Acts 
are not carried out; they are a dead letter 
in many of the worst districts, and only an 
occasional irritant in others. The reasons 
are not far to seek. The inspectors are under 
local control, are receiving weekly wages but 
little above those of a skilled workman ; the 
firms to be watched are influential on the 
sanitary authority and the judicial bench 
of the district. They are wealthy and the 
inspector poor. The motive power of pubUc 
opinion cannot concentrate, except in a few 
large towns, and all we can comfort our- 
selves with hitherto are partially successfid 
efforts here and there, especially in London, 

120 THE LAW 

and isolated cases of complete voluntary 

Many, probably all, reformers are agreed 
that smoke should be put under the Alkali 
Act, or a similar law, along with other noxious 
fumes. These Acts are administered by in- 
spectors appointed by the central govern- 
ment, who have already done much in their 
own department. There should be in charge of 
large areas a sympathetic man of good scien- 
tific training, who would temper his powers 
by aflFording guidance to willing inquirers. 

The law should also begin its supervision 
of the smoke of private houses in some 
gradual and moderate fashion. Every fire- 
grate should be inspected as drains are. 

Why should not those dignified, and often 
leisured, persons, the police, whose monoton- 
ous patrols must be tiresome in an orderly 
city, become the rank and file of the smoke 
inspectors ? They change their beats, and a 
given chminey is visible to many, so corrup- 
tion is difficult, and confirmation easy. 
Surely they could effectively inspect, under 
a highly qualified head, at no extra cost. 
They are about at all times of the day when 
the inspector is in bed or at lunch. 

Germany has no general law on smoke. 
But the city of Dresden has regulations 


against "smoke containing visible particles 
of soot constantly emitted" — an excellent 
form of speech. They take a moderate 
control of private dwellings, enacting that 
the heating **must be so contrived as to 
produce as little smoke as possible." They 
have, further, an inspector whose duty it is 
to assist all citizens as well as coerce them, 
and who provides gratuitous instruction in 
stoking. This paternal and helpful control 
and complete grip of aU smoke might be a 
model for our towns. 

The London Coal Smoke Abatement 
Society, 25 Victoria Street, Westminster, 
has sent round a series of questions to 
Sanitary Authorities, the replies to which 
constitute a strong body of representative 
opinion. Thirty authorities report that they 
have entirely neglected the matter. So, we 
may infer, have many others who have not 
sent any reply. These centres of indifference 
include such smoky places as Crewe, Darhng- 
ton, Devonport, South Shields, Wednesbury, 
and West Bromwich. It is painful to reflect 
that for these thirty years the Local Govern- 
ment Board has nominally had the duty of 
compelling such places to action on complaint 
being made, but has ignored its powers or 
found them too weak. 

122 THE LAW 

Many places report that they utilise the 
services of the police to report smoke, and 
Nottingham recommends that the law shall 
make this a special duty of theirs everywhere. 

Twenty-four authorities think the smoke 
evil is increasing, forty that it is unchanged, 
eighty that it is decreasing. 

The startling thing is that only in London 
and in seven provincial towns are prosecu- 
tions undertaken to any extent that matters. 
These towns are happily large ones, and they 
are arranged in order of the number of 
prosecutions in two years: — Liverpool, 1258; 
Manchester, 277 ; Glasgow, 226; Birmingham, 
178; Bradford, in; London, 91; Notting- 
ham, 69 ; SheflBeld, 62. There were only 164 
prosecutions in all initiated by the remaining 
102 authorities in two years, although they 
had received 6182 official reports of black 
smoke nuisances. This is evidence of ineffi- 
ciency. The legal process is slow and 
cumbrous, and necessitates a warning notice 
before action each time. Several authorities 
state openly that the magistrates before 
whom the cases would come are themselves 
offenders. Several demand that these cases 
should go before the Stipendiary, who is not 
a manufacturer. Only two authorities state 
their satisfaction with the law as it stands. 


The word "black" is found to be a stum- 
bling-block by many, and various suggestions 
are made. Higher penalties and cumulative 
ones are widely asked for, and a more prompt 
procedure dispensing with the need for a 
statutory notice is advocated by many places. 
The whole return is of the deepest interest.^ 

Only twenty-two places employ special 
smoke inspectors. Manchester heads the list 
with five. There should always be such an 
official The ordinary sanitary inspector is 
not a chemist nor an engineer. 

The London Smoke Abatement Society 
finds that when any London borough makes 
up its mind to stop smoke it can do so. 

Dr. Cohen tells a story, truly English and 
conservative, of the climax of the efforts of 
the Leeds Smoke Abatement Society.^ That 
Society had concluded, along with most other 
students of the subject, that mimicipal smoke 
inspection is a failure, and that the subject 
should be placed under the Alkali Acts and 
worked by central Government Lispectors. 

This conclusion was not unnatural The 
Society observed 79 boiler chinmeys for an 
hour each, 5 1 of them emitted black opaque 
smoke for over ten minutes in the hour. But 

^ Smoke Conference Report, 1905, p. 107. 
■ Ibid. p. 15. 

124 THE LAW 

on the average Leeds only produced half-a- 
dozen convictions in the year, costing the 
culprits a fine of ids. each. One year 
there was only one of these convictions 
as the nett result of local anti- smoke 
opinion. So the Society prepared a memorial 
in alliance with the enemies of smoke 
in Manchester and Sheffield, and obtained 
signatures from "all the principal sani- 
tary, medical, architectural, and botanical 
Societies " in the north. It had the support 
of Trades' Councils and other Societies, and 
with its host of influential signatures, it and 
its deputation were simply refused reception 
by the President of the Local Government 
Board of 1896. 

By their new Act of 1905 Leeds can now 
fine progressively £s^ ;^io, ;^2o; this last 
remaining the penalty for all subsequent 
convictions. Manchester may impose a daily 
penalty not exceeding ;^io for not observing 
an order of abatement or prohibition. London 
may impose £$y ;^io, and so on, doubling 
each time for offences against the Act. 

With regard to domestic smoke l^al com- 
pulsion would have to begin in the tentative 
way which the conservatism of our nature 
demands — as in fact the manufacturers have 
been treated hitherto. 


In new large houses gas or other smoke- 
less cookers should be compulsory, and 
some smokeless method of makmg water hot, 
such as a coke boiler or a geyser. These 
could, however, only be compulsory in houses 
of a certain size; they would be too ela- 
borate for a cottage, and I see no drastic 
method of treating the cottage kitchen or the 
sitting-room of the British citizen. Never- 
theless, he need not make much black 
smoke ; when he does, he should be fined as 
causing a public loss and nuisance, just as if 
he threw his garbage into the street. More- 
over, a tax should be put on all fire-grates not 
admitted to be smokeless, thereby offering a 
fortune to a firm who could put a smokeless 
one on the market. 

All this is not &n*andmotherly ; it is not 
different from whaf we do everj day. We 
regulate the purity of gas and the hours of 
work, and we specially watch dangerous in- 
dustries; we dictate building materials and 
the size of chimneys, and the width of streets, 
and the height of buildings, but our sanitary 
regulations do not sufficiently extend to the 
air and the sunlight. 

Mr. A. E. Fletcher, in one of his Reports as 
Chief Inspector of Alkali Works, says wisely: — 

"There are difficulties in making any 

126 THE LAW 

change. Masters will not take the trouble 
to alter their furnaces, nor will the men alter 
their method of stoking their fires unless 
they are compelled. The numerous altera- 
tions made in the construction and conduct 
of chemical works during the last twenty 
years would never have been carried out but 
for the pressure brought on the manufac- 
turers by means of the Alkali Act." 

Average smoke in Nottingham was foimd 
to last 33 minutes in lo hours. At that 
happy place the need for clean lace compels 
the manufacturers to prevent smoke. But 
shall not the nation have clean limgs as well 
as clean lace collars ? Are the fineries of the 
rich and their damty decorations to be so 
influential, but the bronchitis of the slums 
unavailing ? That which compels the use of 
sufficient boiler power and careful stoking in 
Nottingham is surely a trifle of trifles com- 
pared to the gloom and slow degradation of 
physical life which goes on all over our ill- 
regulated country. Verily — 

'* This is the day of the chattel, 

Web to weave and corn to grind, 
Things are in the saddle, 
And ride mankind." 

The medical officer at Nottingham asserts 
that by careful stoking black smoke can be 



prevented. He tells me that he m, 
careful stoking that the fire should be ^ 
back when stoked, and the new coal A 
only in the front, thus making the fui«Aace 
work Kke a coking stoker run by hand. The 
town appoints two or three of the police for 
the special duty of watching chinmeys, in 
which also the sanitary inspectors join. It 
is not usual to warn offenders before sum- 
moning them. One would suppose that 
the necessity for keeping the lace clean in 
Nottingham would find a parallel in many 
districts where fine textile fabrics are made. 
To sum up, I propose the following 
changes : — 

1. Omit the words "black" and "as far 

as practicable" and the statutory 
notice from the Public Health Act. 

2. Make the fines cumulative and high. 

3. Give power to the Court to order smoke- 

prevention appliances on the Chief In- 
spector's advice. 

4. Put the inspectors under the Alkali 

Acts, and make them independent of 
local control. 

5. Let each large district be under a 

competent chemist or engineer with 
scientific training. 


128 THE LAW 

6. Inspect domestic fire-grates, and make 
householders liable to a fine for ex- 
cessive or protracted smoke. Remit 
a little from the rates of gas users by 
selling gas a trifle below cost. Com- 
pel the use of gas or electric cookers 
and coke furnaces where possible. 

Besides a central body of inspectors, there 
ought to be a Ministry of Public Health, 
which would deal with smoke among many 
other important public questions which are 
now scattered over several Government de- 
partments. This proposal has been very 
forcibly made many times by Mr. Fred 
Scott, the Secretary of the Manchester Sani- 
tary Association, who explains that there is 
at present no force capable of coercing a 
negligent Corporation; the President of the 
Local Government Board has neither the 
status nor the effective power to control. 
A Boyal Commission did once recommend 
the appomtment of such a Minister, who 
ought to be of Cabinet rank, but Lord 
Goschen's Bill, which attempted to carry it 
out, fell through because it was overweighted 
with changes in the incidence of taxation. 
Public health is doubtless a question as 
important and as complicated as those con- 
trolled by the Secretaries of State. Most of 


us could record instances in which private 
interests have interfered with the perform- 
ance of the duty of local bodies, who, 
therefore, need effective central coercive 



It is not only on account of its smoke that the 
era of economy in the use of coal should be 
compulsorily ushered in without delay. The 
Royal Commission on this subject issued its 
final Report last year. This is its finding on 
the probable duration of our coal resources: — 
"This question turns chiefly upon the 
maintenance or the variation of the annual 
output. The calculations of the last Coal 
Commission as to the future exports, and 
of Mr. Jevons as to the future annual con- 
sumption, make us hesitate to prophesy how 
long our coal resources are likely to last. 
The present annual output is in round num- 
bers 230,ooo,cxx) tons,^ and the calculated 
available resources in the proved coalfields 
are in round numbers icx),ooo,cx)o,ooo tons,^ 

^ Inclading exports. 

' It is difficult to remember statistics, but a hundred 
thousand million tons is an easy figure to retain, though 
not to realise. 



exclusive of the 40,000,000,000 tons in 
the unproved coalfields, which we have 
thought best to regard only as probable or 
speculative. For the last thirty years the 
average increase in the output has been 
2^ per cent, per annum, and that of the 
exports (including bunkers) 4^ per cent, 
per annum. It is the general opinion of 
the District Commissioners that, owing to 
physical considerations, it is highly im- 
probable that the present rate of increase 
of the output of coal can long continue 
— indeed, they think that some districts 
have already attained their maximum out- 
put, but that, on the other hand, the de- 
velopments in the newer coalfields will 
possibly increase the total output for some 

« In Tiew of this opinion, and of the ex- 
haustion of the shallower collieries, we look 
forward to a tune, not far distant, when the 
rate of increase of output will be slower, to 
be followed by a period of stationary output 
and then a gradual decline." 

The Commissioners add : — 

''Vast as are our available r^ources, it 
must be borne in mind that a" large per- 
centage of them are of inferior\ quality, 
or are contained in deeper and viinner 


seams, which cannot be worked at the 
present cost." ^ 

Mr. Price Williams, in elaborate evidence 
before the Royal Commission,^ calculates 
that in a century from 1901 the popula- 
tion of Great Britain, now 37,ooo,cxx>, will 
be 85,000,000; in two centuries, 135,000,000; 
in three centuries, 175,000,000; in four 
centuries, 201,000,000.^ At that time the 
population will be just about as dense as 
that of Lancashire is to-day; it will giye 
3.47 persons per acre, against Lancashire's 
3.65. The assumption in these figures is 
that the circumstances of the nineteenth 
century will, broadly, continue; that the 
decrement in the rate of increase since 1870 
will still hold, and that there will be no 
artificial restriction of births in excess of 
what there has been since 1870. This factor 
is so uncertain that it will be safer to work 
without it and be on the safe side in estima- 
ting the amount of coal we shall require. It 
is clear that great economies must take place. 
These economies have for many years been 
growing, and we are rapidly increasing them. 

Again, assuming that the decrement observ- 
able in the rate of increase in coal consumption 

* Vol. iii. p. 20. ■ Vol. iii. p. 351. 

« Vol. iii., Appendix V., Table 5. 


during the last thirty years continues, the 
coal in the proved coalfields would be ex- 
hausted in 209 years from the present time, 
and if the unproved coalfields answer the 
Commission's expectations, they will give 
another eighty years' supply. These estimates 
are as near as we shall reach from purely 
physical considerations, and omitting all the 
effects of a higher price. 

It will enable us to realise the extent to 
which we are increasing the consumption 
of our great national asset, if I mention that 
we use now in a single week in winter as 
much coal — 5,000,000 tons — as was used in 
the whole of the year 1781, when Watt in- 
vented the steam engine.^ It is also estimated 
that, by losses avoidable and unavoidable, 
we send to waste, on the whole, the heat 
of nineteen hundredweight of every ton of 
coal we bum in turning it into other forms of 

Our consumption of coal has doubled in the 
thirty years from 1870 to 1900, including the 
coal exported and that used in foreign-going 
ships. Another calculation has been made by 
Mr. Martin on the assumption that the increase 
in output maintains its present rate, instead 

^ A. J. Martin, Brit. Assoc. Paper, 1906, p. 6. 
« Ibid. 


of falling as Mr. Price Williams expects. If 
this be assumed as basis the whole of our 
"proved*' coalfields will be exhausted in io8 
yea/rs. " Unproved coalfields " may possibly 
prolong the period to 122 years, and coal 
below 4000 feet deep, not now considered 
workable, might keep us going another 
eighteen months. Not that this absolute 
exhaustion is likely to take place. Every 
calculation which omits price is not intended 
to be actually realised. Long before we 
approach the end coal owners will raise the 
I price and check consumption. Like Lord 

Penrhyn they can afford to wait. The coal 
will yearly increase in value. It does not 
seem improbable that ere another generation 
has passed away the price of coal may be raised 
to an equality with that of competing coal 
from abroad, whose freight is not likely to be 
less than 5s. a ton. If this happens our manu- 
facturers will be on the footing of those 
in a country dependent on costly foreign 
coal, whose price is at the mercy of foreign 
tariffs. German and Belgian coalfields will 
still be worked, and will be our nearest source 
of supply. By that time no country may be 
willing to part with coal at all. Our factories 
cannot so survive. Manufacturers will go to 
the coal much more frequently than the coal 


to the manufacturers. When our coal has 
gone the manufacturing and mercantile part 
of the greatness of England and all that 
depends upon it will have gone too. London 
will live by running hotels in which Ameri- 
cans can spend their holidays, and as a centre 
of culture and fashion; in Lancashire and 
Yorkshire sheep will wander over the ruined 
heaps of former towns; Manchester and 
Leeds will be visited chiefly for their Art 
Galleries and Libraries, their impoverished 
Universities and interesting old Town Halls, 
doubtless cleaned at last. The people — or 
those who survive — ^will have emigrated, and 
be working in cotton mills in Saskatchewan 
and Rhodesia. 

Any one who remembers the upward jerks 
in the price of coal within recent years, when 
some quite slight check upon output or fillip 
to demand was enough to raise the price 
disproportionately, will not think the above a 
foolish terror ; coal for warmth and for light 
must be had, and when necessity is upon the 
consumers, the price may prove enormously 
elastic. We had booms in the price of cotJ 
in 1872, 1890, 1900, and 1906. They are thus 
coming more frequently; and between 1900 
and 1906 coal never dropped to its old normal 
price, and it is still rising. These booms are 


believed by experts to be caused by fluctua- 
tion in the foreign demand. In a coal famine 
— ^which, of course, will occur in winter — 
what are our poor to do ? Our navy, too, is 
absolutely dependent upon coal. This is a 
new question, for if the consumption of 1 870 
had been maintained and were to be con- 
tinued imchanged in the future, our coal 
would have lasted nearly a thousand years. 
It is the increasing rate of consumption 
which, if continued, is so alarming. 

It takes some time for a Royal Commission 
Report, particularly one referring to a danger 
prophesied for a time after our own, to 
saturate the public mind. But we hope it 
will do so in time ; otherwise there is danger 
that this proudly enlightened generation of 
ours may go down to posterity as the Age 
of Waste; we shall be remembered as the 
people who spent 6s. per week per family 
on liquor and wasted coal by the pit mouth, 
in making coke, in open flres, and in steam 
engines of low efficiency, and dirtied ourselves 
and ruined our health in domg it. 

The Royal Commissioners state that no 
substitute for coal as yet exists or is within 
sight. It would certainly be idle at present 
iU to think of living on radium, or transforming 

the energy of sunlight. " We are convinced 


that coal is our only reliable source of 
power and that there is no real substitute. 
There are, however,^ some possible sources 
of power which may slightly relieve the 
demand for coal." But England possesses 
neither water power, nor forests, nor tropical 

There is another conceivable famine threat- 
ening our descendants — a famine of bread. 
Sir William Crookes devoted his Presidential 
address before the British Association to 
this subject in 1898. He pointed out that 
the population of the world was overtaking 
its wheat fields ; and he exhorted us to find 
in the laboratory some means of making — 
from the atmosphere or otherwise — a nitro- 
genous manure which would replenish our 
fields. We are living at present on nitrate of 
soda from the South American coast. This is 
likely to last less than fifty years. Now our 
coal contains the means of making sulphate 
of ammonia, the very manure we want. It 
is a bye-product of the manufacture of gas. 
When we burn raw coal all this is wasted. 
Bread goes up the chimney with smoke. 

Mr. Beilby laid before the Royal Com- 
mission a careful classification of our coal 
consumption. The Commissioners accept 

* Vol. iii p. 17, Final Report. 


the following figures in their report (vol. 
iii. p. ii): — 

"Very few statistics are obtainable as to 
the consumption of coal in the various indus- 
tries of the country, but we have collected 
information from many sources, and we think 
that the following estimate for 1903 may be 
regarded as approximately correct : — 

Coal Consumption. 


Bail ways (all purposes) . 13,000,000 

Coasting Steamers (bunkers) . . 2,000,000 

Factories 53,000,000 

Mines 18,000,000 

Iron and Steel Industries . . . 28,000,000 

Other Metals and Minerals . . 1,000,000 
Brick Works, Potteries, Glass Works, 

Chemical Works .... 5,000,000 

Gas Works 15,000,000 

Domestic 32,000,000 

Total . . 167,000,000 

In considering these figures from the point 
of view of possible economies, we would draw 
attention to Mr. Beilby's interesting calcu- 
lation that out of an annual consumption of 
from i43,ocx),ooo to i68,ocx),cx)o tons of coal 
in this country there is a possible saving of 
from 40,000,000 to 60,000,000 tons. Other 


witnesses have confirmed Mr. Beilby on 
special points." ^ 

Among the savings would be those by 
gas generators, gas engines, coke recovery 
ovens, gas cooking, heating by gas, electric 
traction, and smokeless chimneys. We 
should thus save one-third of the whole, 
and a sum of, say, ;^36,<xx),ooo sterling; 
" about equal to the cost of the army," re- 
marks Mr. A. J. Martin. 

I therefore submit that the law should 
step in effectually to stop practices which 
smite our people with disease, choke them 
in ugliness, and waste the national asset 
on which we have built up our wealth and 
our national greatness. Modern England is 
the creation not so much of brains and 
liberty and free trade, as of our treasuries 
of coal. 

The coal industry is peculiar in this that 
the more it flourishes the more the country 
is immediately benefited, but permanently 
impoverished ; and the more coal is raised 
now the higher the price that can at an 
early date be charged for what is left. It 
is the famiUar phenomenon of the apparent 

^ The *< General Report," being Fart I. of the Final 
Report, summarises the possible economies, and may be 
had for 4d. from Wyman & Sons, Fetter Lane, E.G. 


prosperity of a man who lives on his 

Extremely cheap fuel, such as we have 
now in low grade coal, is actually a chief 
cause of the smoke nuisance, for it pays 
sometimes to be extravagant with cheap 
fuel rather than to economise it. An Italian 
manufacturer, who imports his coal from 
Wales, told me how necessary it was to 
economise so costly an article. He there- 
fore uses mechanical stokers of the under- 
fed type, with complete success. The time 
may, therefore, come in England when, by 
hard necessity, we may be driven to econo- 
mise the coal which considerations of public 
well-being are not strong enough to prevent 
our waste of now. 

Collieries, where cheap coal is at hand, 
and a good deal of it of poor quality, 
difficult to sell, are the most wasteful users 
of coal, and make the smokiest places. 
They are often in villages which are the 
creation of the mine, and owned by the 
colliery owner. Nobody lives there but 
workpeople, and nobody cares to interfere. 
The law should compel these villages to 
be as bright and clean as a soap village 
or a cocoa village. They might be, though 
it may cause some thought and some 


immediate expense to the colliery owner, not 
generally a poor man. 

One of our most strikingly wasteful pro- 
cesses, already briefly noticed, is that of mak- 
ing coke in beehive ovens, and not recovering 
the gas sent into the air. In 1899 it was 
estimated that recovery ovens made only 
one-tenth of our coke. By 1902 this had 
increased to half as much again. If the 
old-fashioned ovens vanished altogether we 
should save the equivalent of 3,<xx),ocx) tons 
of coal per annum.^ Prejudices concerning 
the colour of the coke from the recovery 
ovens are, I am told, giving way. 

This is, however, not a treatise on the 
many possibilities of fuel economy; it is 
merely concerned with the losses due to 
smoky combustion, and the serious danger 
to the nation in the waste of the great 
national asset on which we live. Every- 
thing points to the fact that seme time 
during the present century we shall only be 
saved from a rapidly approaching exhaustion 
of coal by race suicide, or by such a condition 
of high price as we should now call a severe 
coal famine. 

^ Boyal Commission, vol. ii. p. 33. 



This book has been written in a restrained 
style, and depends for its eflFect on the elo- 
quence of its facts. I close with a few words 
to the makers of smoke. 

Although an economical method of com- 
bustion is likely to pay in the long run, a 
reform doubtless means a fresh investment 
of capital on apparatus, or on providing new 
boUer room, or mstaUing gas or electric 
plant. This will not be done without com- 
pulsion in all cases. But there can be no 
genuine ground of complaint by a firm who 
overwork their boilers and thereby make 
smoke. Restriction will only put them on 
the level of their competitors who work 
their boilers normally. There will be no 
added burden on the trade as a whole in 
such a case. 

In any case the public welfare is here so 
important and in such need of safeguard 



that I think the public is justified in in- 
sisting that for ease in their businesses — 
businesses, it happens, in which most of 
our very wealthy men have been, or are, 
engaged, and have become wealthy therebyyu 
— men shall not be allowed to spoil thek 
lives of Englishmen in general. Beformsf 
of this kind always produce some hard-' 
ship and much outcry, but time justifies 
them. They are in the regular Ime of 
progress. I believe that this is really the 
most curable of all our great national evils. 
It is not much complicated with other evils ; 
it is not a deep-seated organic disease of the 
body politic, like poverty or unemployment, 
or low wages ; not deeply mgramed in vicious 
natures like drink or gambling ; not a tradi- 
tional barbarism like war ; it is just a piece 
of criminal negligence that could be cured 
in twelve months to our economic advantage, 
if the public conscience were awake and the 
magistrates ready to support public opinion. 
The engineers have done their part ; there is 
a mechanical device to suit every one ; but 
England goes on choking in gloomy fogs 
and breathing soot. It is altogether an 
error to say that ''Dirt is cheap." Dirt 
is dear. 
It will be a task for the future social 

144 FINAL 

historian to explain why the English of 
our time were content to live in dirty and 
gloomy air. He will probably explain that 
it was a survival of the worship of that 
careless god Laisaez Faire, under whose easy 
rule much wealth had been collected ; that 
they who had made the wealth were the 
chief sinners, and though they were not 
bad or cruel the exercise of thought was 
a great effort to them, and their thoughts 
were already crowded with other aflEairs. 
They passively resisted the law, and the 
English people have always been patient, 
and also very busy; they even deceived 
themselves into the belief that a smoky 
chinmey was a sign of active prosperity, 
and that " where there's reek there's brass." 
We have inherited smoke from that 
noble but chaotic period when pUlan- 
thropy was individualistic-when the fran- 
chise and free trade and the abolition 
of tests and taxes occupied Bright and 
Gladstone and Cobden. But it is time we 
gave heed rather to Kingsley and Ruskin, 
Morris and Carlyle, with their greater sense 
of the community, and their claim upon the 
State to regulate individualism. The pile of 
the feudal castle has given way to the greater 
pile of the modem factory. Every class in* 


every age in whose control lie the means of 
production and consequent power over others, 
needs watching for the public weal. No class 
has ever been fit to be entrusted with im- 
fettered power; and the modem manu- 
facturing firm or capitalist, wise and good 
as he often is individually, is no exception 
to that rule. In what I have said I have 
been obliged to treat a most excellent class 
of the community as though they were 
public enemies, whereas we know that they 
are neither better nor worse than the rest 
of us; that they are men who are bearing 
great responsibUities, and often honesUy 
wishful to benefit their workpeople. There- 
fore I wish to guard myself against any 
undue personal severity in what I have 
said with regard to this serious public evil. 
It is always the case that the few who 
are wealthy and powerful tend to form a 
system of conduct which, without any per- 
sonal ill-will or volimtary tyranny, presses 
hardly upon the poor. We admire the 
feudal castles of the days gone by, but 
they, alas, were the centres of tyranny 
and terror to the ser£3 who tilled the 
ground around them. These huge factories 
surrounded by working people's houses are 
politically different from that feudalism, 


146 FINAL 

but it is still as necessary to maintain and 
defend the common rights of the public 
to health and happiness as ever it was in 
the days of the feudal masters of England. 
Those old barons too had the duties of their 
chivalry. They wielded power for the rescue 
of the weak. To-day knightly service must 
be rendered under the quieter name of public 
duty. Those in danger of oppression are not 
the aristocratic damL nor the dispossessed 
heirs, but the workmen and work-girls of the 
nation. Their health, joy, and beauty, our 
modem knighthood must surely guard from 
the sulphurous smoke of their own mills. 
We would fain persuade the better-minded 
mill owners that to make smoke is dis- 
graceful, inconsistent with self-respect and 
good will, and we want a public opinion 
determined to coerce the careless and selfish 
ones with an effective law. 


The Report of the Boyal Commission on Coal Supplies, 
In three large volumes, sold separately in many 
small parts (Wyman, Fetter Lane, E.O.). A 
mine of information. 

The Prevention of Smoke, by W. 0. Popplewell, lecturer 
at the Sohool of Technology, Manchester (Scott, 
Greenwood & Co., 12s. 6d. nett), is the best 
text-book I know on the subject. It has 46 
illustrations of apparatus, and is a good technical 

Sm^ke Prevention a/nd Fuel Economy (based on the 
German of E. SchmatoUa), by W. H. Booth and 
J. B. G. Kershaw, with 75 illustrations (Con- 
stable, 1904), is a less complete but useful treatise 
of the technical kind. 

The Publications of the London Coal Sm>ohe AbaJtemenJt 
Society, 25 Victoria Street, S.W., are the freshest 
literature on the subject. They include Tests 
of Grates and Stoves, and (chiefly) the Report 
of the Smoke Prevention Conference, December 
1905, including the most recent papers. The 
valuable pamphlet of Hon. Bollo Bussell on 
London Fogs may also be obtained from thb 
excellent Society, which deserves the support of 
all Londoners, and of those whose business is 
in London, but reside elsewhere. 



Pamphlets by A. J. Martin, referred to on p. loi. 

Report of the Goal Smoke Abatement Co, of 1882 (Smith, 
Elder & Co.), Mr. Herbert Fletcher's Report of 
1895, and ^^* Angus Smith's book on ''Air and 
Rain " are valuable and exhaustive works of an 
earlier date. 


Age of waste, 136 
Air analysis, 41 
Alkali Acts, 120, 127 
Ancoats, 5 
Amott crate, 52 
ArtificiS draught, 67 
Auto stoker, 76, 114 

Bailey, Dr., 45 
Beilby, Mr., on consump- 
tion of coal, 47, 87, 137 
Benjamin on stokers, 76 
Bennis stoker, 76, 1 10 
Birmingham, prosecutions, 

Blast furnace gases, 103 
Booth, Charles, 4 
Bowes Well Fire, 51 
Bread famine, 137 
Broadbent, Messrs., 67 
Brown & Green, Messrs., 

Brunner, Mr. £dw., 70 

Brunner Mond & Co., 94, 

Buildings, effect on, 7 
Bunhill Row, light, 28 

Cadbuby Bros., iio 
Calorific value of smoke, 


Carbonic acid, 36, 39, 60, 

112, 113 
Carbon monoxide, 37 
Carpenter, Capt, 28 
Carr, Mr. Isaac, 100, 104 
Cass, Messrs., 75, 79, 80 
Chain grate, 76 
Character, 9 
Cheap fuel wasted, 140 
Cheap gas, 99 
Coalite, 61 
Coal supply, 130, 141 

famme, 130 

Cohen, Dr., 42, 123 
Coke, 48, 141 
Collieries, waste at, 140 
Combustion, 36 
Consumption of coal, 31, 

133. 138 
Cookson, Sir Charles, 49 

Corker, Ltd., 52 

Cost of smoke, 25 

Crawford, Mr. J., 71 

Crewe, neglect a1^ 121 

Crosfield, Jos. & Sons, 109, 


Crossley, Messrs., 56, 97 

Dablington, neglect at, 

Davies, S. H., 11 1 



Derbyshire moors, 13 
" Devon '* fire, 52 
Devonport, 57, 121 
Diesel oil engine, 98 
Domestic fir»B, 44, 47, 125 
Drawwell grate, 52 
Dresden Bye-law, 120 
Duration of coal supply, 130 
Dust firing, 88 
Dye works, 116 

Economic results of smoke, 

Electric light stations, 72 

power, 103, 104 

Ellis & Eaves, 115 
Expectation of life, 4 

Feudalism, new, 145 
Fire grates, 51, 56 
Fines, 124 
Fletcher, A. E., 92, 125 

Herbert, 78 

*' Florence" grate, 51 
Forcing boilers, 77, 88 
Forced draught, 76 
Fors Clavigera, 32 
Fothergill & Harvey, 114 
Francombe grate, 51 
Fryer, F. G., m 
Fuel only part of cost, 91 

Garden Cities promoted, 

Gas cookers, 49 

engines, 95 

for London, loi 

profits, 56, 100, 106 

stoves, 50, 59 

Germany, 120 
Glasgow Report, 85 

prosecutions, 122 

Grates, 51, 56 

Guild of S. George, viii, 35 

Haicbubg smoke engineer, 

Hand firing, 63, 80, 92 

Heaped fire, 51 
Helyear's Tropic Grate, 51 
Hendry & Pattison, 52 
Higgs, Mrs., 65 
Hinchcliffe's patent, 68 
Hodgkinson's stoker, 76 
Horsfall. T. C, S3 
Horwich, L. & Y. R., 85 
Hot blast, 38, 69, 115 
Hours of sunshine, 6 
Human stokers, 39, 65, 85 
Hydro carbons, 37 
*' Hygiastic " grate, 52 

Incandescent Heat Co., 

Induced draught, 115 
Inspection of grates, 56 

Landers, Ltd., 51 

Langfield's stove, 50 

Lake District, 13 

Leeds Smoke Abatement 
Society, 23 

Lees Bros., 70 

Lempfert, Mr., 28 

Leo Grindon, Mrs., 55 

Liverpool prosecutions, 122 

Local Government Board, 
118, 121, 124 

Locomotive smoke, 106 

London Coal Smoke Abate- 
ment Society, 50, 58, 121 

fog, 24 

prosecutions, 122 

sunshine, 6 

Macdouoall, Messrs., 76 
Making of fog, 22 
Manchester, working life 
in, 4 



Manchester gas stoves, 50 

smoke limit, 118 

soot fall, 45 

sunshine, 6 

Markel, Dr., 41 
Marsh Rrate, 54 
Marshall, W. R/s patent, 

Martin, A. J., 57, loi, 133 
Mechanical stOKers, 74 
Meldrum, Messrs., 75, 79 
Ministry of Pablic Health, 

Modem Painters^ 23 
Moud gas, 81, 91, 105, no 
Mortality due to smoke, 4, 

26, 28 
Murphy furnace, 78 
Murray, W, F., 107 

National coal supply, 130 
Navy, coal for, 136 
Nettlefolds, 84 
Newbiggiuff, Mr., 105 
New Feud^ism, 145 
Nottingham, 118, 122, 126 

Paris smoke tests, 73 
Parker, Thomas, 61 
Parnell, engineer, 82 
Peate*s fireplace, 51 
Plague cloud, 30 
Plants in smoke, 5 
Plymouth, 57 
Police as inspectors, 120 
Pottery ovens, 107 
Price Williams, Mr., 132 
Private houses and law, 

Proctor, Messrs., 75 
Protit on gas, 56 
Public Health Act, 117 
Puddling by gas, 82 

Radium, 136 

Range of smuts, 12 

Regulations, domestic, 125 

Religion of beauty, 16 

Residuals, coalite, 62 

Rideal, Dr., 41 

RoUo Russell, Hon., 13, 25, 

Rowntree & Co., in 
Royal Commission, 95, 130, 

Ruskin on architecture, 7 

education, 21 

storm cloud, 30 

Queen of the Air, 35 

Sanqeb & Websteb, 67 
Schmidt, 92 
Schwartzkopf dust firing, 

Scott, Mr. Fred, 79, 128 
Sense of beauty, 14 
Separation of classes, 8 
Shaw, Dr. W. N., 28 
Sheffield, price of gas, 100 

prosecutions, 122 

report, 85 

Siemens furnace, 82 
Sinclair, Messrs., 75 
Skies (Ruskin), 32 
Smallwood's Patents, 90 
Smith & WeUstood, 52 
Smoke Exhibition, 54 
Smoke and fog, 23 
Smoke tests, 73 
South Shields, neglect at, 

South Metropolitan Gas 

Co., 99 
Statistics, coal used, 138 
Storm doad, 30 
Stokers (humanlf 39> ^Si S5 
Storie, Mr. G. Cf., 114 
Stromeyer on stokers, 73 



Steam plant, effidency, 87, 

Substitutes for coal, 48 
Sulphate of ammonia, 98, 

Sulphuretted hydrogen, 42 

Sulphuric acid, 41 

Sulphurous acid, 40 

Summary of law reform, 


Sundays, clear, 46 

Tangyes, 97 . 
Tatham, Dr., 4 
Thomliebank, 79, 80 
Thornton, J. T., 68 
Time limit, 118 

Training of stokers, 66 
Tropioan grate, 51 

Undeb-fed stoker, 78, 140 

Vegetable refuse, 55 
Vicars, Messrs., 75, 79, 81 

Waste of fuel, 26 

bread, 137 

Wednesbury, neglect at, 

Well Fire, 8, 51 
West Bromwich, neglect at, 

Widnes, price of gas, 100 
Wishaw, puddling, 82, 83 
Wordsworth, 14, 15 


Printed by Ballanttnb, Hanson <S^ Co. 
Edinbui^h <^ London 

'." ' " .■: - 1